WoodmenLife honors local law enforcement with luncheon

by Sean Dunlap

Franklin County law enforcement officials were treated to lunch — as a way of saying thanks for their daily efforts to protect the lives of and quality of life for residents — on Thursday, April 28 by representatives of WoodmenLife Smithdale-Meadville Chapter 1361.

“This was something that we wanted to do in letting these vital public servants know that we appreciate them and stand behind them in doing their jobs,” Tori Earls, who serves as WoodmenLife sales manager, said.

The meal, which included sandwiches, chips, drinks and desserts, was served in the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department offices at the courthouse in Meadville, with District 5 Supervisor Jimmie “Bodi” Bass and Emergency Management-Homeland Security Agency Director Mark Thornton also in attendance.

“As a fraternal (not-for-profit) organization, WoodmenLife strives to do things that support the communities we serve, which includes everything from helping support the local Little League sports program, local schools and providing lunch for healthcare workers at the hospital and convalescent home,” Earls added.

In the near future, the group will provide a new American flag for the county to display as part of its commitment to giving.

Pete Oglesby, who serves as the chapter’s vice president, and his wife, Betty, took part in Thursday’s informal gathering and said he was proud to have the chance to personally thank those who wear the badge and serve with distinction.

“Day in and day out, our law enforcement personnel in Franklin County work to provide a service we cannot do without,” he continued.

“They answer the call in the heat and the cold or whenever they are dispatched around the clock. We hope this token of our appreciation lets each one of them know they are supported by our members and organization.”

Wanda Hart, who serves as secretary of the local WoodmenLife chapter, said she, too, was thrilled to take part in Thursday’s gathering.

“We are so thankful for their willingness to serve every day,” Hart continued.

“Their dedication to this community speaks volumes to their desire to stand up for those in need, even if they don’t know them personally.”

Sheriff Tom Tindle said he and all those in law enforcement — whether it be in his department or in the towns of Meadville and Bude — were thankful for the gesture shown during last week’s give-back event.

“When people come together to do these kinds of recognition events, it certainly boosts the morale of those who work day in and day out to uphold the law,” he noted.

“In speaking for all of us in the sheriff’s department and our local police departments, we thank WoodmanLife for their generosity and support. It means the world to us.”

Earls said WoodmenLife has been helping to protect the financial future of families across the country since 1890, and strives to put money back into the communities it serves.

Some of the other projects undertaken by the group has included preparing backpacks filled with food for needy Franklin County Elementary School students facing food deficiencies in the home; giving support to the Franklin County High School baseball team; and providing gifts to children during the holidays through the regional Toys for Tots campaign.

The community-service work of WoodmenLife Smithdale-Meadville Chapter 1361 along with membership activities can be found online through its Facebook presence.