At times last week one had to check to see if November had already arrived.

On two separate occasions, the Gulf County Sheriff’s Office accepted donations, large and small, on behalf of the county’s first responders.

Those gifts, those extended hands, came from a resident and a local business thanking those manning the front line of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We really appreciate the support,” said Sheriff Mike Harrison while maintaining appropriate social distancing.

Start with Billy Joe Smiley and Port Realty.

Smiley and staff saw a “win-win” in assisting Girl Scouts and first responders with one stroke.

The pandemic had cut short the selling season for Girl Scout cookies, leaving plenty of boxes unsold.

Meanwhile, first responders were toiling long hours, not seeing much of home, grabbing meals where possible.

The solution for both Girl Scouts and first responders, Smiley figured, was those unsold cookies.

So, last week Smiley delivered 130 boxes of cookies, all flavors, of course, to the Sheriff’s Office.

“We thought it was a great way to give back,” Smiley said.

Bonnie Tibbitts was inspired by the memory of her daughter, Summer, who passed away two years ago this month.

Summer worked in a nursing home early in life and with all the death and illness the pandemic was bringing to nursing homes and assisted living facilities, Tibbitts was pondering a way to help.

A friend sent her a pattern for what are called “ear savers” for those wearing protective masks; prolonged wearing can produce painful, irritating sores.

The soft “ear savers” button at each end of the protective mask strings to prevent chafing and irritation.

The pattern was also in Tibbitts’ wheelhouse as the task required crocheting.

“Crocheting takes skill, but I learned it many, many moons ago,” Tibbitts said with a chuckle. “I love crocheting and I thought maybe this is something I can do to help.

“This was also a way I could remember my daughter. She just loved this area.”

To date, Tibbitts has completed over 200 “ear savers” and has sent some to first responders in Alabama, Georgia, even as far away as Chicago.

Last week, she donated a few bags of the “ear savers” to Harrison to be distributed among first responders in the county; she wanted to ensure Harrison provided a stock to county EMS.

She also gifted Harrison with a crocheted turtle, a nod to the community’s link to sea turtles as well as Tibbitts’ volunteering on local turtle patrols.

“I wanted them to have it just because of where we live and all the natural assets we have around us and because we love our sea turtles,” Tibbitts said.

Sheriff deputies reported that the “ear savers” are “quite comfortable” and Tibbitts Facebook page was packed with comments from folks wishing to obtain a pair.

Tibbitts said she will continue to crochet, not selling any of the “ear savers” but donating them to those in need; first responders top her list.