09/12/08 — Jaycees honor Wayne lawmen, firemen

View Archive

Jaycees honor Wayne lawmen, firemen

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on September 12, 2008 1:50 PM

Honoring Wayne County's law enforcement officers and firefighters Thursday, the Goldsboro Jaycees said the timing of their annual banquet -- the seventh anniversary of 9/11 -- was especially poignant as they gave thanks for the commitment of those men and women.

Hosting the Fire, Police and Sheriff's Banquet at the First Baptist Church in Goldsboro, the Jaycees said they simply wanted to show their appreciation to those who risk their lives every day.

There were thank yous to policemen and sheriff's deputies for keeping the county's streets and residents safe, and there were thank yous to firefighters for keeping the county's homes safe.

But the evening wasn't without its moments of levity.

After telling one funny news story after another -- like the woman who stabbed a man for calling her ugly -- keynote speaker Bill Johnston, general manager of Curtis Media Group, asked, "Aren't these stories ridiculous?"

He spoke of how both the media and the audience served the public, but in a different way.

"The difference is when something happens, I don't have to go. You have to go. The difference is, you took an oath."

So when "ridiculous" news stories happen, "you have to get in your car at 3 o'clock in the morning, and you go," Johnston said.

"... Imagine how many times the numbers 9, 1, 1 were put into phones that day (Sept. 11, 2001). ... What's amazing about this story is that while people were running away from that building, people who took oaths went toward that building. When there's an event like this, you go, and as a citizen and a broadcaster, I want to thank you for that."

Tracy McEver, project chairman of the Jaycees, also wanted to thank the men and women sitting before her.

"I can't imagine what you put up with. ... I know I couldn't do it," she said.

Neither could Mayor Al King.

"I think most of our law enforcement and firefighters know how I feel about them," King said. "There is this spiel that I give them. I tell them, 'This city's very careful who it gives a gun, a badge and a car with a blue light to.'

"I wouldn't want to be in Goldsboro, Wayne County, North Carolina or the U.S. of A if we didn't have law enforcement or firefighters. I would go somewhere else. Thank you so much for what you do."

But the thank yous didn't end there.

Then it was the officers' turn to say thank you.

"We give our lives every day, and it's a big commitment. But I want to say thank you for recognizing us," Goldsboro Police Chief Alvin Ward said.

Wayne County Sheriff Carey Winders said he remembered where he was on Sept. 11, 2001. He was at a body shop looking at a wrecked patrol car.

And after a few laughs in a night full of somber remembrance, he said that he appreciated "everyone of you here."

"And I especially appreciate the Jaycees for recognizing us," he added.

Goldsboro police Chief Tim Bell echoed the sentiment of his fellow chiefs.

"It's a really good crowd," he said, looking out into the audience of nearly 75 people. "I just wanted to say thank you."