Local law enforcement honored with picnic
Down to the blue badge sugar cookies representing law enforcement and officers everywhere who don the blue uniform to protect citizens, staff at Freedom Bank of Cassville thoughtfully planned out every detail to thank local law enforcement by hosting a picnic in their honor on Thursday.
Staff were treated to a lunch, consisting of hamburgers, hot dogs, homemade baked beans, potato salad, chips, drinks and dessert. The star-shaped cookies were made by Nita's Cakes of Cassville.
According to Kelly Mills, vice president of the bank, the bank often hosts events in the community, but this was the first event held to acknowledge and thank law enforcement for their service.
"We've had a customer service appreciation day every fall since opening in 1999, but we've never had anything where we've specifically targeted a certain group," he said. "We've been planning this for a while."
Although not connected, the timing was in perfect sync with current events, with the memorial of Sept. 11 this month, the fateful day when officers, firefighters and first responders sacrificed their lives to save those in the World Trade Center towers.
Given the risks and challenges of their jobs, and the difficulties of coping with sometimes unappreciative and negative attitudes and remarks toward law enforcement in general, or surrounding specific events, Cassville Police Chief Dana Kammerlohr, along with other members of law enforcement, said they really appreciated the picnic.
For Mills, it's all about the community, and recognizing those who make a difference within it.
"We're always trying to promote something in the community on a regular basis, help out here and there and were looking for something different this year," he said. "We've got groups doing the Chili Cook-Off, groups targeting the food pantries and groups targeting the backpack programs. Every year, we break into groups and look for things to help out in the community so we can stay involved.
"We think it's important to recognize one's local law enforcement. We all live and work here. And, from what I've seen, what we have around here is a pretty good group of people in law enforcement. They're responsive and see what's going on in the community."
Kammerlohr, city officers, Barry County Sheriff Mick Epperly, deputies, and other law enforcement staff attended the picnic.
"I think we were a little surprised at the turnout," he said. "We fed around 35 to 40 with the to-go boxes included. We were happy to see everyone show up that did, and happy to do it."
Freedom Bank paid for the event, and about seven staff members in addition to Mills donated their time to help organize the event and serve guests.
The bank plans to hold its annual customer appreciation day Oct. 14 in Cassville, and Oct. 15 at its Shell Knob branch, on the bank grounds from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The events which will feature food, games and giveaways.