OVILLA – The Ovilla Service League held its annual barbecue dinner fundraiser Friday evening at Ovilla Road Baptist Church.

Pat McDowell, president of the Ovilla Service League, said the organization has been active in Ovilla since 1973.

“We exist to raise funds for our police and fire departments. All the proceeds from this dinner will go to the police department this year,” McDowell said.

“We used to do two fundraisers a year, but it became too much, so we just do one now and alternate the funds every other year between our police and fire departments,” she said. “We also have a community fund to help citizens of Ovilla and surrounding areas who are in need.”

Mike Moon, who is in his sixth year as police chief, said he is appreciative of the support given by the service league and the community.

“If it weren’t for the ladies of the service league and the community, this would never happen. I want to give many thanks for all they do. They help us buy equipment such as protective vests, shotguns and laptop computers that are not in the city budget,” Moon said.

“I go to a lot of police chief conferences and when I tell them what our community and the ladies in the service league do to help our department, they don’t believe me,” he said.

Marilyn Langenheder, a member of the service league, praised the police officers and firefighters.

“We have the best bunch of men protecting us. I don’t live in the city, I live in the county, but I support this event because they will be the first responders if I need help,” she said. “The people come to eat to support the police officers and firefighters and stay to visit with one another. This is truly a community affair.”

Community spirit is indeed alive in Ovilla, where residents pitch in to help one another. As an example, Rachel Huber recalls one time where she had to drive the fire truck to water the baseball diamonds because the volunteer firemen were all working.

“This event helps bring our community together, especially since we are served by three school districts, Red Oak, Midlothian and DeSoto,” she said. “The service league is a non-political entity. We are all here only to help the community.”

Mayor Bill Turner also was very complimentary toward the service league. “The service league has been here since 1973 and they have done a tremendous job for our city. They are always able to provide money for things not in the budget,” he said. “It really helps this year when we have had to tighten our belts on the budget. They are very unique and important to our city and we are so grateful to them.”

A number of items were donated for the silent and live auctions – and stuffed animals were donated for the police officers to have available in their squad cars for the children they come across as they do their jobs.