Students from Northside High School celebrated Thanksgiving a little early taking time to thank law enforcement officers for their service.
Members of the FFA and the cheerleading teams banded together to collect snacks and drinks for both the Houston County and Peach County sheriff’s offices and delivered them last week over Thanksgiving break.
Virgil Blalock, FFA adviser at Northside High School, said that the idea came about after a conversation about the recent shootings of two Peach County deputies.
“I have friends that were deputies, and they were all just destroyed,” Blalock said. “I just knew that something had to be done for them.”
Blalock said the students decided to include Houston County after learning of that department’s effort to assist Peach County the night of and the days following the tragic shooting.
The FFA and cheerleaders collected drinks and snacks and delivered them to each department, thanking officers for their service. Mara Blalock and Millie Broome, cheerleader coaches at Northside, assisted Blalock with the organization and donations.
“We just wanted to tell them the appreciation we have for the fact that day in, day out, they put their lives on the line for us. For a group of young people to want to do this — to think that it was something we had to do — that means so much to me as a teacher and an adviser,” Blalock said. “What we did was simple, but along with the donation we shook their hands and told them thank you, and sometimes I think they just need to hear thank you.”
Brock Synder, FFA president at Northside High School, said that tragedy reminds us of something we should be doing every day.
“Backing the Blue, we forget about it unless there is something tragic. But they put their lives on the line to protect us every day, and it is not something that they have to do. They care about our community and want to serve it and protect it,” Brock said.
Deputy Pat Lundy, from the Peach County Sheriff’s Office, serves as the school resource officer. Lundy said that in her position, she has a lot of contacts, and many times organizations such as Northside contact her.
“It was an opportunity for them to say that they love us and they are praying for us. It was a little surprising because there was a passion in the kids that you usually see in older people. To think of giving back, especially in a time of hurting like we have had, you don’t always see that,” Lundy said.
Lundy said that while the gifts of drinks and snacks and the interaction with the students from Northside High School brought comfort to their department, it also brought reassurance.
“To see their appreciation, it meant so much. We see so many people that have a tendency to throw all law enforcement together — one thing can happen way out in California and we get thrown into it as well. Which is unfair, because there are a lot of us doing a great job, every day, risking our lives for the communities we love,” Lund said.
Alline Kent can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 396-2467.