‘Thank you for what you’ve done:’ Cookout connects residents with Weld County law enforcement officers | MyWindsorNow.com
Tommy Simmons
tsimmons@greeleytribune.com

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‘Thank you for what you’ve done:’ Cookout connects residents with Weld County law enforcement officers

When Steven Leonard first heard the Weld County Sheriff's office was hosting a free barbecue in Bittersweet Park on Wednesday evening, he didn't believe it. Still, free food was hard to turn down, so he and his friend, Joseph Neice, stopped by the park to see what was going on.

They had not been lied to. Roughly 75 people joined them on the shores of the lake in the park for hot dogs, hamburgers, soda and chips. Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams worked the grill for much of the event, doling out free meals for the constant line.

"He's pretty good (at grilling)," Neice said, nodding to his plate.

The event is the second incarnation of the annual Fallen Officers' Memorial Ceremony, which the office hosts every year in May, during Police Officer Memorial Week. This year, though, a late snowstorm forced Cpl. Matt Turner to cancel the event. The ceremony traditionally features a barbecue afterward, though, and Turner said the office still had a great deal of donated food.

"We had to do something," Reams said.

So the office hosted a cookout and invited all law enforcement officers in Weld County, as well as anyone else who wanted to attend.

The sentiment of the Fallen Officers' Memorial Ceremony still colored the evening though — two tablets, printed with the names of Weld County's fallen police officers — were set up in the park. People took their plates and drinks and camped out in the grass or on rocks nearby, studying the names. That note of solemnity wasn't lost on Leonard.

"I talked to almost every one of (the officers at the barbecue)," he said. "I told them thank you for what you've done."

Reams said those are the kinds of interactions he wants to encourage.

"We appreciate the support we continually get," he said. "We want people to understand they're part of the solution."

Weld County Fallen Officer Memorial Ceremony

The Weld County’s Fallen Officer Memorial Ceremony is an annual event the Weld County Sheriff’s office sponsors every year in May. It honors police officers who have given their lives protecting and serving their community. This year’s event was scheduled for May 18 but was canceled because of unexpected snow. The Weld County Sheriff’s office received donated food because the event traditionally features a barbecue afterward, so the office scheduled a cookout for Wednesday night instead.