Across the nation on Wednesday, Jan. 9, young and old alike took the initiative in showing their appreciation to the men and women who have chosen a profession that puts their lives on the line every day. Walker County was no exception, and community members showed their respect to local officers in a variety of ways.
PruittHealth, a local nursing home in LaFayette, showed its appreciation by hosting a hot dog lunch for local officers.
“We haven’t had a large number show up, but the ones who did were very appreciative and seemed to enjoy the event” said Nikisha Phillips, the activities director. “There are good and bad people in every profession, and we’re so lucky to have some of the best here in Walker County. We’re hoping to do a similar type of event for firefighters as well as military personnel. We’ve considered teacher appreciation, but they work during the day, which makes that challenging.”
Another event for local officers took place at the Chickamauga Telephone Company. Officers mingled inside the building and the community was invited to come in, shake hands, and do a “meet and greet” with the local law enforcement.
Several officers, as well as the sheriff, showed up, bringing coffee and donuts, and socializing with members of the community.
“We’ve probably got about 110 on payroll at the Sheriff’s Office” said Sheriff Wilson, “and about 160 overall.”
According to Wilson, this is the first year that Walker County has celebrated Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.
“The Rossville Exchange Club, for 45 years, has done the annual Officer of the Year (award). It’s usually the last Thursday in February at 12 noon, and it’s always a great lunch.”
Area schools also honored their SROs (School Resource Officers).
LaFayette High School Principal Tracy Hubbert was very proud of their resource officer, Wesley Steele. “We are very fortunate to have Officer Steele on our campus every day. He does a great job connecting with our students both at school and at athletic events. He is personable and approachable, and I’m certain our campus is safer because of his presence.”
And how does Officer Steele like being a SRO? “I’m very lucky to be the SRO at LHS. I have been in law enforcement for over 30 years and this is the most satisfying position I’ve ever held. I’m thankful to the administration and staff, who treat me like family, and we have a great student body. The students are well-behaved and I try to support them in any way I can.”
Across town, Ridgeland High School honored their School Resource Officer Bruce Coker with lunch, and Principal Karen Hughes praised his commitment and faithfulness to the students and staff at Ridgeland.
Overall, it was a lovely day for everyone involved, and area officers seemed to enjoy the appreciation and attention, the Subway sandwiches, donuts, and high-fives, and their moments to chat, laugh, and have some coffee in the limelight.