Friday, October 26, 2007

Law Officers Appreciation Banquet
American Legion Post - Edenton

"To protect and serve" is one of the most famous references to law enforcement, and few citizens are unaware of how necessary these men and women are to our safety and protection.

One of the most active American Legion posts in North Carolina is the Edenton, Edward G. Bond Post 40. Tonight they held their 37th Annual Appreciation Banquet for Law Enforcement Officers in the Inner Banks Region to recognize these special people who provide our safety and protection, often risking their lives in the process. Attendees included both Law Enforcement and local public officials. Francis Pugh, Virgil Williams and Peter Rascoe (shown below) were early arrivals for the event.

The event started with a social hour so members of Law Enforcement could meet old friends and swap stories. Leaders of the American Legion from the both the local Post and the State of North Carolina organization were present to greet them. Jack Gibson, one of the sponsors of this event, talks with North Carolina Commander, Richard Neville, and Adjutant of Post 40, E.C. Toppin (shown below).

Peter Rascoe was very helpful introducing me to some of the county dignitaries present. Here Peter greets May Bass, Chowan County Animal Control, and Orville Mason, Chowan County Facilities Manager (shown below).

The Sheriff of Bertie County, Greg Atkins, introduced me to the Sheriff of Chowan County, Dwayne Goodwin (shown below).

Among many law enforcement members from our region, I met Craig Friedman (shown below), Administrator for Bertie-Martin Regional Jail. Attendees this year included more than a dozen Sheriffs from as far away as Edgecomb and Currituck counties.

As the social hour drew to a close, everyone moved into the banquet area for the meal and formal dinner event.

Dignitaries on the podium included (shown below from left), Robin Prendergraft, Director of the NC State Bureau of Investigation, keynote speaker for the evening, Brenda Toppin, retired from the Edenton Police Department, Pat Staab, wife of Post Commander Ken Staab (shown next), master of ceremonies for the event, Alice and Dr. Jimmy Jarrell, Post Chaplain.

Ken Stabb (shown below) called the event to order and welcomed every who had come.

Reverend Jimmy Jarrell, Post 40 Chaplain (shown below), next led the event with the invocation and blessing of the food.

A special welcome was provided by North Carolina Commander, Richard Neville (shown below).

E.C. Toppin (shown below), Adjutant for the Edward G. Bond American Legion Post, introduced the many honored guests who were there to pay their respects to the law enforcement community.

E.C. had one special presentation to make, as he surprised his wife of 33 years, Brenda (shown below), with her wedding anniversary card and flowers. He made note of the fact that the last time he missed this annual event was when he unintentionally scheduled his wedding on the same night it was held, 33 years ago.

Introduction of Law Enforcement personnel was conducted by Chowan County Sheriff Dwayne Goodwin (shown below).

Paul Williams, of the Chowan-Edenton Optimist Club (shown below) made the very special presentation of the Award for "Outstanding Service to Youth".

This years winner was Ricky Winebarger, (shown below) accepting his plaque.

A touching symbol of the importance of this award was provided when Ricky's entire family (shown below) entered the room and stood to one side to surprise him as the recognition was bestowed.

Ricky (shown below) was very surprised and quite moved, and took a few moments to thank a number of people.

Next, Brenda Toppin, came up to introduce the keynote speaker.

Robin Prendergraft, Director of the NC State Bureau of Investigation was tonight's keynote speaker and honored guest (shown below). Robin shared a special story about her early youth and the importance her mother placed on appreciating how Police officers were her friends and how she could depend on them if she was ever in trouble. This lesson made a strong impression on Robin and was a leading reason that she went in to the law, becoming an attorney. For a while she served as District Attorney for Durham, NC, a position that has unfortunately become infamous due to the actions of a recent Durham D.A., Mike Nifong.

Mark Rich, from NC Wildlife (shown below), had the distinction of making the presentation of the "Officer of the Year Award", the highlight of this annual dinner event.

This year's recipient was William Carroll "Buddy" Bunch.

Buddy was surprised and delighted. He shared a little of his personal story, which included explaining why he had entered Law Enforcement so late in life. It is more of an avocation than vocation, as he has had several successful businesses that met his obligations to his family first.

Buddy's name will be engraved on this special plaque which hangs in the American Legion Post to Honor all of the recipients of this prestigious award, going back to 1972.

The event was closed by the benediction from Reverend Jimmy Jarrell.

It was a great night, and more people should join the following sponsors in coming out to pay their respects to the great men and women who keep us safe and provide such a special service for our society.

Johnny Evans, "LTD"
Eden House Graphics, Inc.
Waff Contracting, Inc.
Albemarle Motor Co., Inc.
Albemarle Sportfishing Boats, Inc.
Edenton Motors, Inc.
Southern Bank & Trust Co.
BB&T Banking
Farm Bureau Insurance
Dixie Auto Parts
Golden Corral
Edenton Construction Co., Inc.
Westover General Store & Deli
State Farm Insurance
East Coast Equipment, Co.
James D. Elliott, Jr. Agency
Waste Industries
Byrum Hardware
Sykes & Company, PA
Cherry Welding & Repair Service
Colony Tire Corp.
Miller Funeral Home
Edenton Tractor & Implement Co., Inc.
Va. Fork Produce
Valhalla Produce
Jimbo's Jumbos, Inc.
Pepsi Cola
Sherri's Sign Shop
Carolina Classic Boats, Inc.
Vaughan's Fine Jewelry & Gifts
Nixon Family Restaurant, Inc.
REMAX - John Dowd Real Estate
Hayes Real Estate, Inc.
Regulator Marine, Inc.
Joe Lee Co., Inc.
Evans Funerals & Cremations
Gateway Bank
Vogedes Insurance Agency, Inc.
City Beverage Company
The Chowan Herald
Noble Brothers Cabinets & Millwork
LeBleu of The Albemarle
HTM Concepts, Inc.
Chowan Animal Hospital
Town of Edenton
Chowan Hospital
Chowan County

We thank these patrons for their support and request you consider thanking them with your business at some time in the near future.


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