Annual luncheon honors local public safety workers
by Sarah Fay Campbell
Coweta's public safety workers were feted Friday at the annual Public Safety Appreciation Luncheon, held at the Coweta County Fairgrounds.
All public safety workers, from police and firefighters to judges, probation officers, public safety dispatchers and forest rangers were invited to the luncheon, which featured barbecue and all the trimmings and a long table filled with desserts of all kinds — most homemade.
Friday's event was the 15th annual luncheon, and was the culmination of Public Safety Appreciation Week.
"I want to tell y'all how thankful I am for each and everyone of you," said Norma Haynes, who has been the driving force for the event since it began.
"You don't know how much it means to me to see my children having a wonderful time," she said.
Haynes thanked her committee who put the event together, and those who cooked the food. Dennis McEntire and a crew from Newnan Utilities cooked the barbecue, and the rest of the food was provided by the Coweta County Prison. Inmates from the prison helped serve, and one provided live piano music during the luncheon. Also helping serve were various city and county officials and local volunteers.
"I have to thank all of the Coweta County citizens who brought that long table of desserts," Haynes said. "I hope you will know that they love you and they appreciate you."
"You are in my heart and my prayers every day of my life," Haynes told those assembled. "I consider each one of you my precious child."
Coweta Sheriff Mike Yeager also spoke.
"Look around. You'll see your brothers and sisters of public safety. It's great that we can have a time to come together and we don't have to sit as this agency and this agency and this agency." He asked everyone to seek out Haynes or a committee member and thank them or give them a hug.
"I already got hugs," said Haynes. "I didn't let them come in the door" without one.
"As usual, it's a wonderful event," said Newnan Fire Department Captain Damon Rosser. Rosser was thanking Haynes after his lunch. "That's our mom," he said.
Grantville Police Chief Doug Jordan and his assistant, Kelli Clark, were at their first Public Safety Appreciation luncheon.
"I think it's very nice that they have put it together for law enforcement," Jordan said. "Law enforcement and public safety never gets enough thank yous, never gets enough praise. And this is really nice," Jordan said.
"Everything was wonderful and we're all very thankful," said Coweta County Sheriff's Deputy David Wisniewski, who had just visited the dessert table. "And now I'm going to pig out."
"It was awesome," said Marty Kaplan of the Newnan Police Department.
"We appreciate it," said NFD Sgt. Vick Kline.
"It's very nice that they do this for us," said Leslie Grabensteder, coordinator for Coweta County's DUI Court.
Former police officer Thomas Howard was volunteering at the dessert table. "I had so much fun," he said. "I love it."