Sunday, 5/7/2020 | : : UTC-5
Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

Community serves those who serve us

Community serves those who serve us

By Lindsay Starr Platt

Sunday from 2-6 p.m. at a come-and-go event at the Bell County Expo Center, Bell County first responders and their families were treated to a barbecue dinner with all the fixings. The hall was decorated in red, white, and blue table decor and balloons and local volunteer groups took turns serving those that serve us.
The event was is the make two months ago when Temple resident Carmela Thomas decided she wanted to give back to our first responders during the turmoil our country was going through at the time.
Becky Garth of Temple said, “Carmela said, ‘I may be old, but I am not too old to get something done.’ We called a couple of stores and things got rolling.”
The Adams family of Johnson Brothers Ford donated the meat and the local Elks club in Temple volunteered to cook. The Elks Lodge #138 also hosted a serving line at their lodge for Temple first responders that were on shift and could not leave the city limits in city vehicles.
“Thank you for doing this, Carmela,” said Temple Mayor Danny Dunn.
“When all that mess in Dallas happened, I knew I wanted to do something. Sometimes I would call Temple police two times a week to check on sounds I heard on my property. My husband had died and I am blind. When you are alone and can’t see the sounds from outside can become frightening. They would always come out and check my buildings and sheds and come back and reassure me everything was secure and I was safe. I thought they were so kind and understanding. We need our police department,” said Carmela Thomas, event organizer. “We need to do something for them. I started calling merchants and asked if they would help. It just grew and grew, more merchants wanted to help. But, many of the merchants couldn’t afford to donate without it being a charity, even though it was for this. We were not a non-profit.”
Temple Rotary club stepped in and helped Thomas by sponsoring the event on behalf of their non-profit. After the charitable status was achieved donations were able to come in and make the event a success. Judge Jon Burrows made sure the space at the expo center was donated as well.
“She (Thomas) is amazing. Somebody that loves their law enforcement like that,” said Kaci Locklear, wife of Corporal Amanda Locklear of Temple Police Department. “The food is pretty good too.”
“Everyone has just been so generous. Gulf Coast Paper donated all the paper goods, plates, cups, and decor. And Judge Burrows got us into the expo center,” said Garth.
Youth from the “Un-included Club” in Temple and students from New Tech High School @Wascow were two of the groups that volunteered with serving the food. Garth said the students just showed up without any reservation and said they were there to help. Altrusa International – Temple was also making sure food was served, drinks were poured and desserts were handed out.
“It has been an honor to serve Bell County first responders and their families. In a small way we can show our appreciation for what they do in our community,” said Theresa Reese, president-elect of Altrusa International – Temple.
First responders gathered at tables enjoying their meals. Some came with their families and other came with their work families. Meals were also plated and taken back to units for comrades still on shift.
“This was really great! All these people coming together and showing support,” said Bell County Constable Pct. 4, Isen Ismali.
“This barbecue is unreal. Amazing. Great event. This really shows the amount of support our community has for us,” said Officer Gabe Barrett of Belton Police Department. “We really appreciate it.”


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