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Politicians drawn to annual law cookout
0421 Long Cookout 1
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle was one of several guest speakers who addressed the crowd at the 23rd Annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Cookout on April 15 in Tattnall County. - photo by Photo by Mike Riddle
The 23rd Annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Cookout on April 15 in Tattnall County drew public safety employees from around the state.
Wayne Dasher, who hosted the event, welcomed the crowd of more than 1,000 people. The group honored four men as distinguished public servants.       
After a moment of silence, the crowed recognized U.S. District Judge Anthony Alaimo and Tattnall County Sheriff’s Department Reserve Deputy Sheriff William “Bill” Bargeron, who both died late in 2009.  The group also prayed for the health of Liberty County Sheriff Don Martin, who is in the hospital, and law enforcement supporter and businessman Ellis Wood. Neither Martin nor Wood were able to attend the cookout.
This year, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, state Attorney General Thurbert Baker and Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle addressed the crowd. Cagle was the keynote speaker. He told the group that despite hard economic times in the state, Georgia is still dedicated to its top priorities: education, public safety and taking care of very needy residents.
Regarding state taxes, Cagle said, “The good news for all of you is, when we go to balance the budget, we’ll do so without any tax increase on the people.”
The Lt. Gov. closed his speech by expressing gratitude for law enforcement officers. “Thank you for your public service,” he said, “for what you do 24-7.”
Baker discussed Georgia’s increasing drug problem, including methamphetamine use. He touched on the importance of educating youth.
Baker also spoke to the crowd about the dangers of their jobs. “Many times, those in public safety go to work to do their job and they don’t know if they will come home the next day,” he said. “Every day of the year, you men and women here do what you do, and you make a difference.”
Dasher also recognized Long County Sheriff Cecil Nobles as the longest-serving sheriff in the state and the second-longest serving in the nation. The host wished the sheriff a happy birthday as well. Nobles will turn 75 on April 25.     
The event, which started as a cookout to honor law enforcement officers, has evolved into a night for public safety workers to enjoy fellowship and a meal.
Part-time Sheriff’s Deputy Walt Pelton and his wife attended the cookout for the 10th year. “These are really great get-togethers,” Pelton said. “You come here and it makes you feel good for what you do. You feel appreciated.”
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