Spartanburg Community Cookout Celebrates Unity

By Chris Lavendar with the Spartanburg Herald-Journal

August 28th, 2016

The original story can be found here.

Hundreds of Spartanburg County residents enjoyed a fun-filled Sunday afternoon at Barnet Park during a community cookout.

"Let's Unite!" featured dancing, free hot dogs and the opportunity to learn more about local services. The event also provided a chance to meet candidates running for political office in November.

"It was really important for us to come out and be here because I think events like this bring together people," said Chris Fedalei, the Democratic candidate running against U.S. Rep Trey Gowdy in the 4th Congressional District. "With everything going on in the world today we need to bring people from different backgrounds together."

Representatives from the Spartanburg Police Department, Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office and Spartanburg Fire Department mingled with the crowd as well. Lt. J.T. Harlow of the Sheriff's Office showcased a helicopter used in daily operations. It's one of two helicopters used by the Sherriff's Office.

The helicopters' uses include chasing bank robbers and suspects wanted in burglaries. Harlow said they also help find lost or missing children. The helicopters were used previously in the Vietnam War and were refurbished to meet law enforcement's needs.

S.C. Junior Miss Sweetheart of USA Kirby Helms, 12, of Pacolet made an appearance. She won her state title on Aug. 6 in Columbia. She's made several public appearances since winning her crown. Her mother, Dale Helms of Pacolet, was encouraged by the community cookout and emphasized the need for neighbors to keep helping neighbors.

Spartanburg Fire Department Battalion Chief Darryl Padgett shared information with the public on smoke detector safety and trash burning regulations.

"When people first move in they don't know what's going on," Padgett said. "It's important to show community spirit. We are all in this together."