Red Bank, SC (Paul Kirby) – Lexington County Councilman Bobby Keisler joined with Caughman-Harman Funeral Home again this year to host their 19th Annual Public Safety Picnic. Each year, they’ve cooked hundreds of chickens, pounds of onion sausage links, baked beans, coleslaw, and other delicious food that’s served in the recreational building that Keisler owns on a gorgeous pond in Red Bank. They also provide cold drinks including tea, water, and soft drinks as well as a wide variety of sweets that complete the feast. All of this is provided free of charge to anyone that works in the field of public safety. It’s their own way of thanking the men and women who work so hard to ensure we are safe whether we’re working, playing, or sleeping.
When the picnic is in full swing, long tables are occupied by people in various uniforms of multiple agencies. They’re eating, talking, smiling, but most of all their resting and enjoying the fact that people care enough to show their thanks. On the side of the serving room, box after box of food is packaged to take to the men and women who are on-duty, unable to attend in person because they are working to keep Lexington County safe. At the picnic, sheriff’s deputies sat beside state troopers laughing, talking and enjoying the food. They’re were also firefighters, EMS personnel, the staff of the Coroner’s Office, 911 telecommunicators, police officers from multiple departments, state troopers, several people from the Solicitors Office, and animal control officers too. Almost every agency either had someone in attendance or had plates taken to them to enjoy at their post.
Councilman Keisler, a former law enforcement officer himself, said that putting on the picnic is the highlight of the year for him and the staff of the funeral home. “We feel like it’s so important to show all these men and women how much what they do means to all of us. Without the long hours they put in, Lexington County just wouldn’t be as safe and as great a place to live as it is,” Keisler said. “Even though getting everything ready is hard work, it’s nothing compared to what these people do every day.”
Although some of the most influential leaders of Lexington County attend each year, you’ll also see the greenest recruits, some still in training. It really is impressive to see the sheriff or the county fire chief enjoying lunch beside someone that hasn’t even completed their training. Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon said after the picnic had concluded, “We appreciate Caughman-Harman’s continued hospitality that shows their thanks for public safety year after year. Public safety personnel in this county enjoy a strong relationship with each other and events like this provide us an opportunity to get together, share a meal and strengthen those relationships.”
After almost everyone had left, Councilman Keisler said, “I am so proud of all the people that pitch in each year to make this happen. My family takes time off from work and friends come and help with everything from the cooking to the cleanup. It’s hard work but it’s worth it. To see everyone laughing and smiling with no stress, no work, just enjoying the food and being together, it really makes it all worth it.”