Southern hospitality

Sheriff's annual breakfast brings crowd

Photo with no caption
By Lance Coleman
Senior reporter
Blount Today

Ham and biscuits and friends and fellowship were on the menu for Blount County Sheriff James Berrong’s annual ham and biscuit breakfast on Dec. 21.

About 300 friends and colleagues of Berrong showed for the morning get-together in the Family Life Center of First Baptist
Church of Maryville.

Berrong said people from all walks of life were invited, as were sheriff’s office employees, those with Maryville, Alcoa, Blount County Parks and Recreation and other county agencies.

"We do it as an appreciation breakfast that is all paid out of my campaign funds and donations so emergency service personnel we deal with can enjoy Christmas breakfast," Berrong said. "It was a tradition I inherited that has been in place (for some time). The sheriff before me did it, and we just continued the tradition."

In the past the breakfast was held in the Roll Call room of the sheriff’s office in the Blount County Justice Center. "We outgrew it. I go to church at First Baptist and the Family Life Center is great place to have it," Berrong said. "They’ve always been helpful in allowing us to have it there. It works out perfectly."

Berrong thanked everyone who helped organize the event. "It’s a good time for people who work in different fields to get together in a non-stressful situation and fellowship," he said. "A lot of these people, we see them in a negative situation. It’s nice to see everyone together, especially in that type of atmosphere."

Berrong said the money to pay for the event didn’t come from his county budget. "There are no tax dollars used in this, no county funds," he said. "It comes from donations and the difference is paid through my campaign fund."

Maryville Police Chief Tony Crisp said he’s always enjoyed the event. "You see a lot of people in the community from a variety of walks of life you don’t get to see that often," he said. "It’s certainly a good time to see lot of different people."

Photos by Leslie Karnowski and Marian O’briant

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