The Power of Community
14th annual cookout held in Grantville
by Bradley Hartsell
Grantville showed the power of community recently with its 14th annual cookout.
On Aug. 16, the Ladies and Gentlemen of Grantville, the hosts of the event, cooked homemade barbecue, held music, dancing and karaoke at no cost to anyone who wanted to come. In 2000, the cookout was started by 15 members of the LGG group before they even had a name or knew the cookout would be around 14 years later.
“We’re all from Grantville, we all grew up together in the projects,” said LGG Vice President Pat Strozier. “The event started on a whim. We all just met and thought, ‘We should do this every year.’”
The event brings not only Grantville residents together, but people, like Strozier, who grew up in Grantville but moved elsewhere for various reasons (Strozier is now a nurse in Atlanta). One of the 15 founding LGG members, Micki Miller even brought her cousin from Ohio, Paula Gray, who not only loves seeing her family, but enjoys the community atmosphere of the cookout.
“I enjoy coming down from Ohio,” said Gray, who attended her fourth Grantville cookout. “I started coming because of Micki, and I just keep coming back. It’s always a nice event.”
At Griffin Street Park, with more than 200 attendees every year, the LGG makes all the food from scratch – ribs, pulled pork, Brunswick stew – giving those of Grantville a hearty meal, but, more importantly, it’s a way to express the meaning of community.
“If you leave home, you come back and give. That’s what we try to teach the kids,” said Strozier, who remarked how committed the community is to this particular gathering. “It rained last year, but everyone still came. We had music and everyone had fun; we all just hang out, dance and eat.”
This year, the cookout drew Grantville Mayor Jim Sells to experience one of his town’s premier events.
“I came out to see how they’re doing. This is one of the things to do in Grantville and they keep doing it every year,” said Sells. “This is real community and we appreciate it.”
LGG President Randy Stevens, after DJ Cutt’n White finished playing a nostalgic hip-hop song, took the microphone to thank everyone who came to the cookout, and he even honored LGG members Dorothy Rosser – his mother – and Laura Woods for their service.
Woods was honored, not only by Stevens’ kind words and plaque, but by how enthused the Grantville community has remained for the yearly cookout. “It was a great turnout. It was fellowshipping, just like a family affair,” said Woods. “Everybody had a great time. I felt real good because we had a super turnout. We stayed until it got dark.”
“One day, I think our town is going to be better,” she added of her town and its strong bond of community. “I may not be alive to see that day, but that day is going to come.”