Local businesses are honoring first responders and those fighting coronavirus on the front lines this Thursday.

The Town of Wappinger in Dutchess County is kicking off "Thank You Thursday" this week. The program is aimed at showing appreciation to first responders, doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers.

Hudson Valley medical staff with ID or who are wearing uniforms will be treated to free items and discounts every Thursday. This week, they can stop into Dunkin' Donuts, McDonald's and Starbucks in the Town of Wappinger and receive a free coffee or soft drink.

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The free beverage deal will also be good at the Gulf; Mobil; and Sunoco stations on Route 9 and the Shell station on Route 376 in New Hackensack. In addition, first responders, doctors and nurses will receive discounts of up to 15% at Big Lots, Outback Steakhouse, and the Double O Grill within the Town of Wappinger.

Randy Ross from the Town of Wappinger is coordinating Thank You Thursday and says that the list of businesses continues to grow. Ross hopes that the program will continue to snowball and even spread to other communities across the Hudson Valley. The organizer says he'd like to make this show of gratitude something that lasts even after the COVID-19 threat is over,  "We always need to recognize our first responders, not even just in a time of crisis."

Businesses wishing to participate can call the Town of Wappinger supervisor's office for more information.

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