Support of law enforcement officers in Wilkes County has been shown in several ways recently.
This includes signs with “Thank you, law enforcement” written across a badge that has appeared along roads and in yards in the last few weeks. Meals have been prepared for local law enforcement agencies.
“The Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office has been overwhelmed with community support the past several months from residents of Wilkes County in their support of law enforcement, this support always been comforting and continues to be,” said Wilkes Sheriff Chris Shew.
On the afternoon of June 19, over 250 barbecue chicken meals were delivered to offices of the Wilkesboro and North Wilkesboro police departments, N.C. Highway Patrol, sheriff’s office, 911 Communications Center and county jail.
This showing of support resulted from a casual conversation between friends a week earlier on June 12, said Keith Hutchison of the Windy Gap community, who is known for cooking barbecue chicken and other food for groups and events.
“Me and a couple of friends were sitting on the porch talking about all that’s going on,” said Hutchison, referring to negative media reports about law enforcement. “I made the comment that I would like to cook a meal for them to let them know the support they have.”
His friends liked that idea and others became involved after a few phone calls. Soon, more calls were being made for donations of money and supplies. Hutchison said the money needed to purchase chicken and other supplies not donated was easily raised.
Scott Caudill, one of the volunteers, said 10-year-old Austin Burgess raised about $750 of the money at his lemonade stand in the Oaks subdivision off Edgewood Road near Wilkesboro.
The Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse store in Elkin donated charcoal and lighter fluid, John Boys BBQ & Dairy Bar in West End Elkin donated slaw, Advantage Restaurant Equipment & Supply in North Wilkesboro donated plates and plastic eating utensils, Ridgecrest Ray’s BBQ Sauce in Wilkesboro donated barbecue chicken sauce and Flowers Bakery Thrift Store in Wilkesboro donated rolls. Volunteers cooked and donated cakes for the effort.
Hutchison and friends cooked the chicken at the Southeastern Wilkes Community Center’s barbecue pit. Caudill agreed to go to Flowers Bakery to buy more desserts when they realized it was needed for about 30 plates.
He said the cashier at Flowers was ringing up his purchase when a man standing behind him in line asked what the dessert was for. After Caudill explained, the man told the cashier, “I’ve got this,” and then paid what was owed. Caudill thanked the man but didn’t get his name.
He said he believes the anonymous donor at Flowers and most other people in Wilkes appreciate local law enforcement officers and what they do to keep everyone in the county safe.
In addition to Hutchison, Caudill and Burgess, people who volunteered, donated or both for the effort included Wilkes residents John Souther, Wayne Eller, Chris Richardson, Yvonne Caudill, Maybelle Nance, Tim Nance, Jennifer Wyatt, JoAnne Steelman, Robbie Chambers and Chris Whitley.
In addition, Calvary Baptist Church provided 138 meals to the Wilkes Sheriff’s Office last week. Harvest Time Ministries provided over 200 meals to on-duty law enforcement this week. Carolina West Wireless is providing over 80 meals to the Wilkes Sheriff’s Office today.
Oakwoods Grocery plans to provide over 150 meals to local law enforcement and Wilkes Emergency Medical Services personnel on July 16.