Pascagoula bank hosts appreciation lunch Jackson County law enfo - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Pascagoula bank hosts appreciation lunch Jackson County law enforcement

Officers say the support felt nice. (Photo source: WLOX News) Officers say the support felt nice. (Photo source: WLOX News)
The meal was a break from their normal fast food or leftovers. (Photo source: WLOX News) The meal was a break from their normal fast food or leftovers. (Photo source: WLOX News)

Wednesday's flooded roads and hazardous driving conditions kept many law enforcement officers busy in Jackson County.

To thank them, Merchants and Marine Bank in Pascagoula hosted its first law enforcement luncheon at its headquarters in Pascagoula.

 "I know at Christmas it's a busy time for them. When all of us are with our families at home, enjoying the holidays, they're out trying to keep all of us safe," said Bank President Royce Cumbest. "So it's a small thing, but a token of our appreciation." 

Those in attendance say BBQ pulled pork, cole slaw, and baked beans was a nice break from they're used to eating while on patrol.

"Fast food or leftovers, or something like that. It's nice to have a fresh meal," said Lionel Bourgeois with the Pascagoula Police Department.

Officers from across Jackson County were invited, along with the state Highway Patrol. A bank employee spent all night cooking enough food to feed 350 people.

To the officers, the meal meant more than just a filling lunch.

"The support of the community's very important to me. After everything that occurred this morning, all the flooded streets, the chaos, all the calls, it's nice somebody stops and says, 'Hey, here you go. We appreciate all what y'all do,'" said Bourgeois.

That appreciation is even more significant with news of officer-involved shootings in other parts of the country, and police departments facing scrutiny.

"Yeah, we have gotten a bad rap the last year, but that's part of it," said Jimmy O'Banner with the Mississippi Highway Patrol. "It's not too often people show this appreciation toward law enforcement, and it's just an honor to be thought of."

"It makes us feel good, because they do take such good care of us all the time, and in our business, that's really important," said Cumbest.

The officers left the gathering with both full stomachs and hearts.

"It feels great actually to have the support of the community, it's wonderful," said Bourgeois. "It's great, some of the best food I've had."

The bank also delivered food to two sheriff's department substations, the police headquarters in Ocean Springs, Moss Point, Gautier and the Jackson County Jail.

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