Last year, the event was held after Hawkins County deputies had been out all night chasing a fugitive and conducting drug raids; the inaugural event was held on the heels of the conclusion of the lengthy Carlie Trent kidnapping investigation.
Tuesday morning’s appreciation breakfast was held only 15 hours after deputies faced down an armed fugitive, resulting in the suspect being shot and killed.
Cherokee Principal Thomas Floyd thanked officers for their service and dedication.
“There’s no one who works for Hawkins County whose life is on the line like yours is every day,” Floyd said. “Every time you get in that car, every time you go to that call, every time you step out into the community, you are putting yourselves in harm’s way, and we certainly honor that and appreciate that. This is just a small way of saying thank you.”
Cherokee head secretary Susie Hilton organized the original Law Enforcement Appreciation Breakfast in 2016 to say thanks following the exhausting eight-day search for kidnapped third-grader Carlie Trent.
The first breakfast was so well-received she decided to continue it every year, scheduling it to coincide with National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.
“Today is an important day for our men and women in law enforcement, and they need to be recognized,” Hilton said. “They put their life on the line each day for us to protect us at home, at school, work, and even walking on the streets.
“This is something small for us to do for them. But small can go a long ways.”
On the menu for local police officers were biscuits, breakfast burritos, fruit, donuts and pastries, coffee and orange juice. Among the contributors were Hardee’s, Cherokee Restaurant, O’Henry’s, Sonic, Food City, Walmart, Little Caesar’s and Pepsi.
The children of Pilgrim’s Rest Church also presented treat bags which contained a variety of items and a note that explained how each one is appropriate in the life of a police officer. Among those items were:
* Dum Dums: You deal with them every day.
* Lifesavers: You are lifesavers.
* Bit-O-Honey: Sometimes you get in sticky situations.
* Snickers: A little snicker makes the day better.
* Hugs and Kisses: We love you.
* Band-Aids: You can patch up any problem.
* Candle: You are a light in the community.
* Gum: Chew up the bad guys.
* Paper clip: You’re attached to each other.
* Now and Later: You help us now and will later too.
* Soap: You clean up crime.
Sheriff Ronnie Lawson said the breakfast is an “amazing gesture” on the part of the school and its administration, faculty and staff. He said the deputies and jailers who were working Tuesday morning and couldn’t attend the breakfast in person would receive a doggy bag.