The Back the Blue Appreciation Day took place on July 20, at the Point Event Center, with various police officers and community members in attendance.
Around 11 a.m. speakers such as the Midlothian Mayor Richard Reno and Ellis County deputy sheriff Brad Norman addressed attendees.
"I think the TV and the media today portray officers as these brutal racists people and I can tell you I’ve been out in this community a lot in the last year on the campaign trail and that’s not true. Not here in Ellis County," Norman shared. "I believe the overwhelming majority of people here in Ellis County are supportive of the law enforcement, as we can see here today. Anytime you get a group of people together to support their local law enforcement, I think it’s a great thing."
Throughout the day, singers and bands took turns performing for those in attendance.
David Whiteman, host and event coordinator shared that 240 has RSVP’d, as of Saturday morning. "The first rush was amazing. We had to set up extra tables and bring out extra chairs. About 200 meals came out for lunch time and the leftovers were delivered to police departments in Ellis County," Whiteman shared.
"They’re[Police Officers] thrilled. I saw tears come into one of their eyes as the Police Chief read a prayer," Whiteman said. "I thought about the amount of scrutiny on our law enforcement is out of balance.
Whiteman also shared his thankfulness for all of the sponsors that jump on board to help him throw the event. "I just want to thank all the sponsors. Because of the sponsors, pretty much all the food for the officers is paid for," Whiteman said.
A ’wall of gratitude’ was placed along the inside of the Point Event Center to share the community’s gratitude for law enforcement.
Community Outreach Officer, Scott Hughes, was in attendance with his community vehicle to interact with community members with questions or concerns.
"It’s awesome[the event]. We totally have a huge support here, pretty much in Ellis County but Midlothian I know personally. We love this kind of stuff. This stuff is just awesome all the time," Hughes said. "I actually get to see a lot of it because I am the Community Outreach Officer and people don’t realize, cause this kind of blessing happens everyday. It’s all about building relationships, because if we have relationships with the community, then they have trust with us. They know who we are, they understand. And really when people know who you are they are more likely to tell you if stuff is going on."
Hughes hosts events such as the citizens police academy, which gives citizens an opportunity to learn about police work in general and gain insight into the Midlothian Police Department. This event is scheduled to take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., on August 15.
"The more people come and interact with officers and see and hear our heart, that’s gonna be a big part of it. We want to be here and serve our community. The chief was talking about service amongst self. Community is two words. Common unity," Hughes explained. "And whether people like it or not, we all have one common thing when we live in a community and it's that we live in that community. And if people wanna keep unity, we gotta realize that we have that commonality."
From 9-10 p.m, singer Kadie Lynn, performed for the evening crowd in attendance. The event was scheduled to last from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Ellis County community member and planning team volunteer, Felest Ingersoll,shared her heart for the police officers. "I love our police and I think they deserve to be appreciated. I also love David and the fact that he wanted to open up for this cause, I’ m all for it," Ingersoll said. "We back the fact that they protect us, everyday. Day in and day out..We understand that there’s bad apples in every bunch but 99.9 percent of them are good."