Community Salutes Real Life Heroes

Anita Campbell
County Reporter
 Approximately 1,200 people enjoyed the Third Annual Community Appreciation Day sponsored by the Friends of the Benton County Sheriff’s Office on Sunday, September 30. 
Children and adults enjoyed food, entertainment, and a chance to meet members of Benton County’s first responders in a safe, friendly atmosphere.  “We wanted everyone to meet the people who help our community in times of need in a less threatening atmosphere,” said Carrie Rieman, president of the Friends of the Benton County Sheriff’s  Office.
First responders who participated in the Appreciation Day included:  members of the Missouri Highway Patrol including their helicopter from Jefferson City, SWAT Team with the Bearcat, Air Evac 60 from Sedalia,  Missouri Water Patrol, Missouri Department of Conservation, Northwest Fire Department, Warsaw Fire Department, Warsaw Police Department, Lincoln Fire Department, 911 Dispatch, Warsaw/Lincoln Ambulance Service, Tolliver Towing Service, Precision Towing Service, Benton County Emergency Management, CERT, ARES, Bothwell Clinic, Warsaw Leathernecks and the Benton County Sheriff’s Office. All of them had displays with gear and equipment for the crowd to explore. 
“Our purpose was to show people, especially children, that first responders are people too who want to help other in difficult situations,” said Benton County Sheriff Eric Knox.  “Usually when a child meets a county deputy it might be a bad situation such as a car wreck so we wanted the children to meet these dedicated public servants in a friendly atmosphere.”
Knox went on to say that it warmed his heart when he heard that a child came up to one of the members with his plastic sheriff’s  badge and told them,  when he grew up he wanted to be a deputy. 
There were many activities for children including a petting zoo sponsored by the Cole Camp and Lincoln FFA, bounce houses and a petting zoo.  Bill Roberts as well as Jim and Darlene Hays provided music during the celebration. Rusty Johnson and Phillip Yoder volunteered as auctioneers for the pie auction. Donations and proceeds from the pie auction and raffles exceeded $4,000 and will go into the fund to purchase a drone for the Benton County Sheriff’s office.
David Winkler won both raffles which included a Spark drone as well as a Shimano custom rod and reel complete with custom fishing lures made by Team Montemyer.
“My office has a great deal of support from the community and I wanted to give back to the community with this Community Appreciation Day,” said Knox.  “I want to continue this tradition as long as I am in office.”