Local church shows their appreciation for law enforcement

APPLING, Ga. (WJBF) – Abilene Baptist Church spent Tuesday evening serving barbecue to the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.

It’s something they started last year and do twice a year to show their appreciation.

Across the country there has been such a divide between the community and law enforcement.

So Pastor Brad Whitt with Abilene Baptist Church said his congregation wanted to do something to show how much they appreciate the men and women who protect them.

“We tell them eat all you can and they seem to really love it,” Whitt said.

It might not seem like a lot, but to these men and women in blue, it means someone recognizes their hard work and dedication to the community.

“We just can’t express how much it means to us, in words or actions, we just want to thank them from the bottom of our hearts,” Lt. David Heaton said.

Lt. David Heaton says it’s important to maintain a good relationship with the people.

“We value our partnership with the community so much, and we know for us to have success we need that good partnership with the community,” he explained.

The church served Shane’s Rib Shack food to more than 70 officers working at the station, and 50 more plates to people working at the jail.

“We felt like a lot of our men and women in law enforcement weren’t getting a lot of the appreciation, respect that they’re due, and so last year we began to think, how can we show our love, how can we show our appreciation for those to serve and protect us,” Whitt said.

Whitt says it’s also a teaching moment for him to show interns with the church how ministry works.

John Stephens is the head of the intern program and says even he has learned a lot.

“Well I mean, Jesus came down and gave us an example of what it’s like to serve others, and then told us to go out and do the same, and so today you know we get to serve people who go out and serve our community,” Stephens said.

This is the second year Abilene Baptist Church has served dinner to the Sheriff’s Office, and they hope to continue this service for many years to come.

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