November 12, 2019
Nov. 12, 2019—Now in its seventh year and as the cafeteria inside Cy-Fair High School filled to near standing-room capacity, those who helped grow this gathering of appreciation still couldn’t believe how this event has blossomed.
It started as lunch between Bill Powell, former director of transportation, and retired CFISD Police Department Chief Alan Bragg as a sign of gratitude and a way to keep the lines of communication open between departments. Years later, that meal has become the annual CFPD/Security Department Appreciation Luncheon, which was put on by the staff from CFISD’s transportation, facilities and construction, operations, nutrition services and general administration departments Nov. 5.
“We rely on our police officers and they do such a good job in supporting us,” said Matt Morgan, assistant superintendent for facilities and construction. “It’s truly a team effort.”
Now in his third year in CFISD, Chief Eric Mendez said he’s still amazed at the outpouring of support for the department.
“This ‘Back the Badge’ event is just outstanding,” he said. “Never in my life have I seen so much community support for law enforcement and our first responder community. The officers get to see this day of appreciation where their community and the school district they serve actually come out for them. The amount of vendors, sponsors and volunteers that go out of their way to show their appreciation just makes for an amazing event.”
In combining their efforts, volunteers from the numerous departments worked shifts over the weekend preparing a barbecue lunch for CFISD’s men and women in blue.
It’s the growth from Powell meeting Bragg for lunch one day eight years ago. Powell picked up the tab on a hamburger to show his appreciation. That spawned an idea for a larger event with burgers and hot dogs at the Telge Transportation Center.
To help take lunch to the next level, Bridget Roome, transportation data management specialist, and her husband Paul, facilities and construction special projects manager, took the reins with the support of departments beyond just transportation.
In addition to showing thanks and appreciation, the luncheon also allows multiple departments to come together, meet each other and continue lines of communication.
“It’s just like when we work on the campuses – we build those relationships with the students,” Mendez said. “And when you have a relationship built with an individual, you build trust, you’re more comfortable when you need something and you’re more approachable. So in time of need, it’s easier to talk with one another because you’ve established that rapport and you’ve established that relationship.”
Workers from the departments served lunch to the honored guests, with CFISD campuses, groups and transportation centers joining in the effort by buying shirts supporting CFPD and the luncheon. A slideshow showcased CFPD officers interacting with CFISD students, staff and community members. The luncheon closed with numerous officer giveaways and prizes, with the donations made possible by many generous area business, individuals and community partners.
Fox 26 Chief Meteorologist Jim Siebert served as the event emcee.
“Every year, it’s gotten a little bit bigger,” Morgan said. “We have so much community support. Our officers do a terrific job and Chief Mendez is a great leader. So now we have a lot of our vendors donate and support this event just so we can show appreciation to our men in uniform.”
The Cy-Fair and Langham Creek high school softball teams and Langham Creek Hispanic Organization for Leaders of America (HOLA) volunteered their time, from forming a spirit line to welcome officers and attendees to delivering prizes to the winners during the drawing.
“I can’t say enough for how much I appreciate all the community’s support for our department day in and day out, but for a day like this when they come out and show their support, it’s very meaningful to the officers,” Mendez said.