Community members give back to their protectors

(Source: KAIT-TV)
(Source: KAIT-TV)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Members of the community are reaching out to the ones who protect them on a daily basis.

A Law Enforcement Appreciation lunch took place Wednesday at Temple Baptist Church.

Pastor Andy Neal with Temple Baptist Church said he and his congregation wanted to take the opportunity to say thank you.

"We've been wanting a way to express to our public servants our appreciation for what they do for Jonesboro and the surrounding county," Pastor Neal said. "So, today we're doing this for our police departments, for our law enforcement."

Neal said the officers who attended the luncheon seemed very grateful.

"They're saying their appreciation for us doing this for them," Pastor Neal said. "We're wanting to appreciate them by doing this, but they're overwhelmed by us opening our doors to them."

Patrolman Dustin Smith with the Jonesboro Police Department said it means a lot to him and fellow officers to have the communities support.

"It's everything," Officer Smith said. "We serve the citizens of Jonesboro to the best of our ability every day. And a lot of times in the media you see a lot of negative things about citizen and police interactions. We don't see that. 99.9% are positive and it's a tribute to the city because we have great people here."

There are around 270 members at Temple Baptist Church.

Pastor Neal said they were all thrilled to be a part of the event.

"They were excited about doing it," Pastor Neal said. "They were excited about just coming together and finding a way to thank them. Last year we went to the police department and offered them snacks and goodies. This is just taking another step and reaching beyond these walls and one of those areas is law enforcement."

Officer Smith said any act of kindness, even just saying "thanks" means a great deal.

"We're very appreciative," Officer Smith said. "We have several events throughout the year where the community gives back to us and they don't know just how much we appreciate it. Letting us come together and eat, fellowship... .we really enjoy it. We have a great community here in Jonesboro."

Pastor Neal said he hoped this lunch helped law enforcement know how many community members are behind them.

"That the churches of Jonesboro, not just Temple, that the churches of Jonesboro appreciate them," Pastor Neal said. "That we're here to serve alongside them and if they ever need anything we're here for them. If we ever have a need we know they're there for us. So, that mutual compatibility, friendship and working and serving in our community together."

They're not stopping there.

Pastor Neal said they plan to hold an additional lunch in August for our local firefighters, EMT's and ambulance drivers.

For more information about Temple Baptist Church in Jonesboro, click here.

Copyright 2018 KAIT. All rights reserved.