Community fish fry honors vets and law enforcement

Steve Chapman

The Sycamore Community Association held their third annual fish fry at the Sycamore Community Center near Halltown on Saturday, April 27. An estimated 100 people attended the event.
Each year, the association holds the fish fry to honor law enforcement, but this year, they chose to honor veterans as well. Dennis Rodgers, one of the event organizers, said he estimated 15 active and retired members of law enforcement, as well as “several” veterans, were in attendance. Rodgers also said Sue Ann O’Neal, a singer/songwriter and ordained minister from the Christian/Taney county area, was on hand to sing to those in attendance and say a prayer over the members of law enforcement and veterans.
Rodgers added the event held special meaning for O’Neal.
“Her son was a deputy sheriff who was shot while on duty four years ago,” he said, adding that O’Neal’s son was disabled as a result of his injuries.
The meal was free to all in attendance, but donations were accepted. Rodgers said the association received $510 in donations, adding they would use the money to pay for the fish and other items used to put on the fish fry, and the money left over will go towards improving the center’s playground.

 The donations, in addition to a grant they received, will help build a new play fort for the kids.
“We received $1,550 in a Community Foundation grant this year, and we bought a seven-foot enclosed tube slide with it,” Rodgers said. “So, we’re going to build an elevated fort off the ground and put the tube slide there, and that’s primarily for the little ones. It’s enclosed so they can’t get hurt.”
Twelve people volunteered to help out during the fish fry; one of them was Jim Rodgers, Dennis Rodgers’ brother. Jim said he helped out to show his appreciation for those who serve in law enforcement and the military.
“I’m a veteran, and I enjoy giving back to veterans and our law enforcement,” he said. “They don’t get enough of the recognition they deserve.”
For many of those who attended the fish fry, the highlight of the evening was the opportunity to socialize. Grant Gaddy, who came to show his support for local law enforcement, said he enjoyed seeing members of the community come together.
“A lot of that gets missed out anymore,” he said.
Kelsey Rodgers, Jim Rodgers’s granddaughter, said she also enjoyed being able to meet and talk with people, especially those she doesn’t see regularly.
“You don’t get to see everybody on a daily basis, so whenever we gather here, it’s nice to see everybody again,” she said


Lawrence County Record

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Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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