Hundreds of employees of Coweta County’s numerous city and county public safety departments gathered for the 21st annual Public Safety Appreciation Luncheon at the Coweta County Fairgrounds on Thursday.
The annual event was organized by the Newnan-Coweta Public Safety Committee members, and the luncheon was free and open to all divisions of public safety – including law enforcement, fire departments, emergency medical services and the court system.
The meal was provided by Warden Bill McKenzie with the Coweta County Prison, and a long table covered in every kind of dessert imaginable was also available thanks to many giving local Coweta residents.
Norma Haynes, who heads the Newnan-Coweta Public Safety Committee, said she enjoys the luncheon, seeing it as a way to unite the local public safety departments. It is a day of fellowship and fun for the many public safety employees who deserve appreciation, she said.
“This was one of the best ones ever, and I couldn’t have been more pleased” Haynes said. “ The laughter was wonderful – it’s so gratifying to see everyone mixing together because they work under such stressful circumstances. I’m thankful to everyone who had a part in putting it together – our committee and our community.”
The Newnan-Coweta Public Safety Foundation was formed more than 18 years ago in an effort to bring awareness to the community regarding the hard work that first responders do in Coweta County.
As public safety agencies are trying to work more with less, the foundation also helps raise money to purchase necessary items for both police and fire departments that aren’t in their budgets.
Last year, the group helped fund a multitude of projects in support of those serving in public safety across the county, including the purchase of full-face shields, body shields and furniture for a child victim interview room.
The foundation also donated thousands toward ongoing medical assistance for several public safety employees.
Along with purchasing equipment for first responders, the group also awarded $5,000 in scholarships to high school graduates who are children of public safety employees.
Haynes encourages businesses and homes to display the “Loyal Blue” ribbons to show their support at the foundation’s encouragement.
The ribbons are designed to show both officers and potential recruits community backing and to counteract comments and news stories coming from other parts of the country that accuse law enforcement agencies of discrimination and abuse.
“Anyone who is willing to help is always welcome,” Haynes said. “Since we have no administrative costs, every dime raised goes to help someone in our community.”
Donations to the foundation are accepted at any time and may be mailed to P.O. Box 1113, Newnan, GA 30264, Haynes said.
For a gallery of images from this event, please visit http://photos.times-herald.com/