Coweta’s public safety community unites
by Wes Mayer
An estimated 300 to 400 employees of Coweta County’s numerous city and county public safety departments gathered for the 16th annual Public Safety Appreciation Luncheon at the Coweta County Fairgrounds on Friday.
The annual event was organized by the Newnan-Coweta Public Safety Committee members, and the luncheon was free and open to all divisions of public safety –including law enforcement, fire departments, emergency medical services, the court system and more. The meal was provided by Newnan Utilities and Warden Bill McKenzie and Lt. Larry Smith with the Coweta County Prison, and a long table covered in every kind of dessert imaginable was also available thanks to many giving local Coweta residents.
Norma Haynes, who heads the Newnan-Coweta Public Safety Committee, said she enjoys the luncheon as a way to unite the local public safety departments. It is a day of fellowship and fun for the many public safety employees who deserve appreciation, she said.
The week of April 27 to May 2 is Public Safety Appreciation Week, and to honor the week, Newnan Mayor Keith Brady and the Newnan City Council signed a proclamation. The proclamation was presented to Haynes at the luncheon by Councilmember Bob Coggin in Brady’s absence. In his presentation, Coggin said how he often hears how he is lucky to be from Newnan and Coweta County, and most of that is because of the many great local public safety departments.
The luncheon began around 11:30 a.m., and because many members of the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office were attending the funeral of Kenny Beckom in Newnan, the committee served Friday’s meal until 1:30. Beckom was a veteran sheriff’s office SAFE (Students Are For Education) and school resource officer, and his funeral at McKoon Funeral Home and Oak Hill Cemetery was attended by many. The sheriff’s office also used its helicopter to take photos of Beckom’s large funeral procession.
The Newnan-Coweta Public Safety committee accepted many donations to help fund the luncheon throughout the week, including a spirit night at the Chick-fil-A Dwarf House on Bullsboro Drive and the chance for businesses and residents to purchase Loyal Blue Ribbons from Newnan florists.
The leftover donated money goes into the Newnan-Coweta Public Safety Benevolent Fund, which provides supplies and funds to any Coweta County public safety members who may need aid financially or medically. Additional donations are accepted at any time and may be mailed to P.O. Box 1113, Newnan, GA 30264, Haynes said.
The other members of the Newnan-Coweta Public Safety committee who helped organize and serve the luncheon were Judy Bell, Lynn Blackburn, Gail Carnes, Tammy Cash, Pat Craven, Sheila Davis, Ruth Ann Embrey, Linda Godfrey, Tommy Godfrey, Jim McGuffey and Marianne Thomasson.