Central Texas law enforcement from around Brazos Valley were recently recognized for their service at the eighth annual Backing the Badge barbecue.
First responders from local agencies in Brazos, Burleson, Grimes and Robertson showed up to the event to celebrate each other and receive thanks for their dedication to the community, as well as to honor one of their own: retired Deputy Mark Fickey, who died last month.
“It’s just a great community turnout for Mark and all the first responders,” Fickey’s wife, Pamela, said. “It just means a lot to us. We’ve had a pretty rough month.”
Event organizer Marilyn Moore said that Backing the Badge BCS, an organization that supports agencies in the Brazos Valley community, hosts the barbecue each year to show appreciation for law enforcement.
“They get in their cars and leave their families to protect us and it’s the least we can do,” Moore said.
Moore praised Fickey as a “longtime pillar in our community.” She said that Moore was enjoying retirement when he suddenly passed away.
Brazos County Sheriff Wayne Dicky also gave a special honor to Fickey’s family.
“We presented the family with a flag flown over the capitol of Texas in Mark’s honor,” Dicky said. “We hope it helps them remember how well he served our community.”
Fickey had a long record of service with the agency. “Mark was part of the sheriff’s office family for more than 31 years and his loss had an impact on us, so it really meant something to be able to present his family with a small token of our appreciation of his service to the citizens,” Dicky said.
Fickey’s mother and daughter were also at the event. His mother was grateful for all the community support.“It fills my heart with love,” she said. “I thank everybody that came. I appreciate it so much and Mark would have too.”
Backing the Badge organizers said this year’s event had the highest turnout since its inception.
First responders and law enforcement officers in attendance also seemed to enjoy the event. Texas Department of Public Safety Sergeant Sarah Cadan said that she looks forward to the barbecue every year and enjoys getting to meet and talk with others in her profession. “We always feel appreciated from our community so, this event is just a great display of that,” she said. “You know we got these great folks cook us barbeque for not only our law enforcement, but all of our emergency services in the area. Just to show their appreciation.”
Clifford Dorn was instrumental in organizing the event. In total, he said his crew of volunteers cooked 300 pounds of brisket, sausage and chicken, and 200 pounds of pulled pork. There was quite the spread of side dishes as well.
“We may even run out of food. It’s a great big family and everyone loves to come out and do this. It’s all volunteers. Every single person is here because they want to be here. Whether that’s to serve lunch or cook it,” Dorn said.
Dorn is also the president of Operation Safe Shield, which raises money for Texas agencies to add bulletproof windshields to their vehicles.