Started in September 2000, the luncheon provides a free steak meal to any Bartow public servant, working or retired, and all widows or widowers of a public servant.
Coordinator Parnick Jennings said the initial meal was started as a way to honor those who serve their fellow citizens.
“I went to New York City in September 2001 and assisted a funeral home there with funerals of many brave men and women who had given their lives during the attacks on the World Trade Center,” Jennings said. “It was during that time that it reinforced in my heart how much I wanted to further honor our own public servants. I was able to get some other business owners to help with contributions and we were able to invite all employees within our county, as well as the Georgia State Patrol.”
On Monday, Sept. 10, the meal — a T-bone steak with trimmings catered by Flavorful Events, banana pudding from Cody J’s and other homemade desserts — will be served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Clarence Brown Conference Center. There is no cost for public servants, and those interested in enjoying the meal may purchase a steak dinner for $7.50. This year’s luncheon also will feature several guest speakers, including outgoing Commissioner Clarence Brown and Cartersville Mayor Matt Santini.
Serving roughly 1,400 people each year, Jennings said volunteers are needed to help with carryouts, serving, tea refills and “just thanking these men and women for what they do.” for our county.
Bartow County Fire Department Chief Craig Millsap said the event is a welcome reminder to his men and women that the community remembers and appreciates all they do.
“The luncheon, you know, it really makes you feel good to be remembered during that time. ... It does make us feel appreciated,” he said.
For Jennings, the luncheon goes beyond just the meal.
“As you know, I was one of the co-founders of the Bartow Business Connection, an organization that is dedicated to helping local businesses prosper during these difficult economic times,” he said. “This event has two purposes: the first is a reminder to all of us that all those men and women working tirelessly is what forms the basis for our businesses to flourish. Whether they work behind a desk processing paperwork, on the streets protecting our families, or working for gas, electric, water or sanitation departments, we could not work and live as we do without their efforts.
“And, secondly, I want those public servants to know just how much we appreciate what they do. Many of them have thankless jobs and may have very little opportunity to interact with the general public. One of my most vivid memories is of the widow of a gentleman that worked in the gas department. When he passed away, I went to the house where she showed me the flyer that had appeared in the paper the year before. He had cut it out and tacked it on the bulletin board in their home. She told me that he was so proud that ‘his community had honored him.’ That memory is forever etched in my mind.”
To make reservations for the luncheon, call Jennings at 770-382-0951 or 678-767-7169 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.