By NICOLE ZEMA
Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Ray Johnson and Lt. Mike Kemp were honored for their acts of compassion by Sheriff Charlie Creel and Senior Center Director Maurice Langston.
Thanksgiving traditions at the Wakulla Senior Center include turkey dinners, live music and recognition of local Good Samaritans.
Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Ray Johnson and Lt. Mike Kemp were honored for their acts of compassion at the 2015 Community-Wide Thanksgiving event on Nov. 24.
“Every once in a while you’ll find people who go above and beyond to help one of our senior citizens,” said Senior Center Director Maurice Langston.
When Sgt. Johnson learned that some local senior citizens might lose their homes, he called Langston to collaborate on a solution.
“We had the opportunity to find a home for them before they became homeless,” Langston said. “Sgt. Johnson initiated that effort, and they have a home now. We are proud of that.”
Langston said Lt. Kemp then built a wheelchair ramp and other amenities at the residence.
“That’s going above and beyond what their call of duty is,” Langston said, as he presented glass plaques to the deputies on behalf of the Wakulla Senior Citizens Council. “We deeply, sincerely and genuinely appreciate what you did for our seniors.”
Sheriff Charlie Creel said he is proud of his helpful deputies. He said events like WCSO golf tournaments raise money that is reinvested into the community for things like mobility ramps.
“These are our parents and grandparents,” Creel said. “We want to do for you, what you have done for us.”
The Crawfordville branch of Prime Meridian Bank sponsored this year’s Thanksgiving feast, and donated 100 turkeys.
Local officials worked with the Senior Center’s Angels to serve turkey plates piled with dressing, gravy, green beans, cranberry sauce and rolls. Sheriff Creel visited with guests as he carried large trays of pecan and pumpkin pie slices. Elections Supervisor Buddy Wells, Veterans Service Officer Harold Ross, and County Administrative Coordinator Patty Taylor also stayed busy serving plates and refilling drinks.
The Pickin’ n’ Grinnin’ Band played hymns and country favorites, that brought many guests to the dance floor.
Langston prayed a blessing: “We want to take this time now, to turn this Thanksgiving into ‘Thanks-living’ – a way of life for each one of us who received blessings from Your hand time and time again.”
Nicole Zema is a reporter for The Wakulla News.