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Gov. Kemp and other statewide elected officials attend law enforcement cookout
Front row (l to r): Sheriffs R.E. “Chuck” Moseley (Wayne County), Stephen B. Tinsley (Clinch), Carl James (Ware), Jim Proctor (Camden); Retired Sheriff John Carey Biddick (Monroe); Sheriffs Robert Oglesby (Jenkins), John Miles (Candler), John T. Wilcher (Chatham), Jeffrey Brewer (Emanuel), Mark Crowe (Bryan), Kyle Sapp (Tattnall), Andy Batten (Bacon), and Stephen D. Jessup (McIntosh). Second row: Sheriffs Donnie Pope (Jasper), Thomas H. Corbin (Treutlen), William N. Bowman (Liberty), and Mike Jolley (Harris); Georgia Governor Brian Kemp; Dept. of Corrections Board Member Wayne Dasher; and Sheriffs Craig Nobles (Long) and Alvie “Junior” Kight, Jr. (Toombs). Back row: Sheriff Mac Edwards (Evans), Retired Sheriff Mike Yeager (Coweta); Sheriffs Len Davis (Brantley) and Mark W. Melton (Appling), and U.S. Representative Rick Allen.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and numerous statewide elected officials attended the annual gathering in salute of law enforcement at the pond house of Wayne and Julie Dasher this past Thursday evening, April 14.  

With this an election year, the crowd soared to over 1,500 people, with many political hopefuls in the crowd, including U.S. Senate contender Herschel Walker.

Although an event was held in Atlanta at the same time last Thursday, most of the state government officials made the choice to mix and mingle with their constituents in South Georgia instead.  In fact, a headline the next day in the Atlanta Journal Constitution read “The Jolt: GOP bigwigs ditch State Party gala for pond house cookout.”

Governor Kemp arrived in his official campaign bus, with his wife, Marty, and one of their daughters, Lucy, accompanying him to the cookout.  It is typically held on the second Thursday of April each year, with the pandemic preventing the event in 2020.

Kemp lauded the law enforcement personnel for keeping the citizens of Georgia safe and for the leadership of the sheriffs for what they do to keep law and order in their respective counties. He extended his thanks to those on the federal level as well as the Department of Corrections, Public Safety, GBI, Pardons and Paroles, and other state agencies.

“Our state and local partnerships are vital to our safety, and I am proud to serve as your Governor, and look forward to continue serving the citizens of Georgia,” Kemp said.

He was warmly introduced by State Senator Blake Tillery, who commended Governor Kemp as a chief defender of our freedom and safety. He commented that Kemp had excelled first as Secretary of State and now as Governor.

“Governor Kemp is the main reason today that Georgia, for eight years in a row, has been bestowed the honor of being the number one state in the nation in which to do business, and he kept our state in business during the pandemic.  Also, he has a high regard for law enforcement personnel, who he has supported during his time as Governor,” Tillery said.

The annual cookout is hosted by Dasher, a Department of Corrections board member, along with the following county sheriffs: Kyle Sapp of Tattnall; Craig Nobles of Long; Mac Edwards of Evans; William Bowman of Liberty; Chuck Mosley of Wayne; Mark Melton of Appling; Neal Jump of Glynn; and Mark Crowe of Bryan.

Dasher welcomed the crowd to the event, and introduced the state officials as they took the podium to speak to the crowd, preceding the bountiful meal served.

The prayer and blessing was delivered by Mike Yeager, former sheriff of Coweta County and current U.S. Marshal for the northern district of Georgia.

Bubba McDonald, a member of the Georgia Public Service Commission, and Gary Black, Georgia Agriculture Commissioner (who is campaigning for a U.S. Senate seat), sang the national anthem together to kick off the evening.

Secretary of State  Brad Raffensberger assured the attendees that his goal in Georgia elections was for only American registered voters to cast ballots, and he expressed his appreciation to the sheriffs for keeping the polling locations safe.

State Attorney Chris Carr, who, in his sixth year of office, commented that his mission was to protect three things: lives, livelihoods, and liberty.

Jason Shaw and Fitz Johnson, Public Service Commissioners, and Tricia Pridemore, Chairman of the Georgia Public Service Commission, thanked Wayne and other sheriffs for hosting this annual cookout to honor and salute law enforcement. The mission of the Public Service Commission is to provide dependable energy at the lowest rates possible for consumers.

Also in attendance were U.S. Congressmen Rick Allen and Buddy Carter.

The meal served included grilled chicken, chipped barbecue, Brunswick stew, potato salad, Cadillac rice, rolls, sweet tea, and other beverages.

Optim Medical Center-Tattnall, located in Reidsville, was thanked as the Grand Sponsor for the annual cookout that recognizes law enforcement personnel along with other first responders in Georgia. 

Other sponsors are Gold: Burke Health, Chick-fil-A, Alan Anderson, Botanical Sciences, Canoochee EMC, Cherry Street Energy, Chol Kim, Claxton Poultry Farms-Mikell Fries, Daniel Defense, Envirovac-Kevin Jackson, Harris Ace Hardware, McDaniel Vending, Reddy Ice, Rusty Pig Restaurant, Sea Coast-Joe Gill, Statesboro Coca Cola, Southern Woods Plantation-Benjie DeLoach, and Scheer, Montgomery & Call, PC.

Silver sponsors include the following: Adams Poultry & Hardware, AllGreen Services-Sam Sullivan, Armstrong’s Cricket Farm, B&T’s Fresh Market, Attorney Billy Jones, Blocker’s Onions-Cale Blocker, Blue Force Gear, Claxton Oil, Dairy Queen-Glennville/Reidsville, Dublin Construction Co., Dubberly Law Offices, Derst Baking-Ricky Burkhalter, Ellis Wood Contracting, Georgia Power, Glennville Electric Motors, Howard Funeral Home, Judge Jeff Arnold, Mascot Pecan Company-Kenny and Tim Tarver, Moe Gill, Rick’s Meats-Rick and Chad Warren, South Georgia Bank, Stewart Distributors-Jimmy Stewart, The Supply Company, Tattnall Printing-Russ Rhoden, The Claxton Bank-Phillip Williams, Thomas & Hutton Engineering, and Wiregrass Designs-Libba Thomas.

Numerous volunteers stepped up to assist in the event in the preparation of the food, the serving of the meal, and many other ways.  These include Julie Dasher, Kelly McCumber, Casey Oglesbee, Kim Purvis, Paul Tatum, Alex Tootle, Donna Tootle, Kimi Hammock, Debra Dasher, Cindy Butler, Amanda Barry, Brooke Anderson, Pat Tatum, Cynthia Middleton, Debbie Dasher, Freddie Swenson, Linda Swenson, Deborah Terrell, Wayne Terrell, Ashton Quick, Chance Quick, Gena Anderson, Peggy Anderson, Debra Ann Quick, Debbie Tatum, Linda Brannen, Tristan Willis, Logan Willis, Brad Hooks, Paul Grieco, Jerry McDaniel, Teresa Todd, Rhoda Johnson, Jennifer Clark, Brandy DeLoach, Linton DeLoach, Ricky Salter, Maison Garbutt, Shawn Sikes, Shannon Reynolds, Bobby Wiseman, Ruthie Campbell, Jimmy James, Debra Simmons, Thomas Williams, Freddie Armstrong, Lee Clark, Lacy DeLoach, Amanda Johnson, Michael Whitteker, Gary Deloach, Curtis Todd, Brandon Williams, Timothy Goodell, Lindsey Hardiman, Kody Terrell, Pedro Sharpe, Devon Luckett, Jimmy Brown, Walt Rogers, Tristan Willis, Logan Willis, and Michael Sapp.

A.J. Anderson, son of Alan and Angie Anderson, won the gun in the raffle sponsored by Daniel Defense.

Proceeds from the Law Enforcement Cookout sponsors goes to the Sheriffs’ Youth Homes.

Prior to the cookout, a reception to support the re-election of Governor Kemp was held from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Dasher’s cabin.