Sponsored by ShawHankins, The Daily Tribune News and WBHF AM1450, the luncheon served more than 1,400 people, founder Parnick Jennings estimated.
“I think it's the biggest crowd we've ever had,” Jennings said of the lunch, which serves as a “thank-you” for public servants.
“There was a lot of retirees that I invited back, a lot of people who's husband or wife had passed away, so we tried to be a little more inclusive this year because those people really need the support groups,” he said.
One such attendee was Harold Satcher, who retired from Cartersville Gas Department.
“I knew a lot of people here personally. There's a lot of people out of other departments from [the] county, and it's good meeting them. I still recognize them,” Satcher said. “… I think it's a great thing for who all puts it together. .. I appreciate it. I appreciate this luncheon that they give here.”
Following the presentation of colors and the national anthem, several speakers addressed the crowd, including Cartersville Mayor Matt Santini who read a proclamation for Public Servants Day.
The event was this year seemed to be surrounded with an aura of peace.
“A lot of people told me [there was] the sweetest spirit when they walked back in the room,” Jennings said. “There was just a sweeter spirit this year, I think. I think a lot of people are glad the election was over and were just ready to love each other.”
Bartow County EMS Director Larry Owens was among those who appreciated the outpouring of support for the community’s emergency personnel.
“Well they all appreciate it because you know most of the time … everybody's in a bad situation when they call us anyway,” Owens said, “and we really appreciate the community giving us this dinner or appreciation and recognizing all public safety because we're all in this family — us, police, fire, everybody.”
Jennings said planning for next year’s luncheon will begin in about two weeks.