Cypress-Fairbanks ISD police officers receive barbecue plates prepared by members of the CFISD transportation, facilities and construction, operations, nutrition services and general administration departments at the sixth annual CFPD/Security Department Appreciation Luncheon on Oct. 8 at Cy-Fair High School.
Cypress-Fairbanks ISD police officers receive barbecue plates prepared by members of the CFISD transportation, facilities and construction, operations, nutrition services and general administration departments at the sixth annual CFPD/Security Department Appreciation Luncheon on Oct. 8 at Cy-Fair High School.

CYPRESS — Even in its sixth year and even as the cafeteria inside Cy-Fair High School filled, those who helped orchestrate and grow this gathering of appreciation still couldn’t believe how this event has blossomed.

It started as a simple lunch between Bill Powell, former director of transportation, and retired CFISD Police Department Chief Alan Bragg as a sign of gratitude and continuing lines of communication. It’s 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 Oct. 8.

CFISD police officer Marnie Jernigan celebrates after winning the surprise gift during the sixth annual CFPD/Security Department Appreciation Luncheon on Oct. 8 at Cy-Fair High School. Jernigan won a $500 gift card from Southwest Airlines, which was among the numerous prizes and giveaways available to officers and luncheon attendees.
CFISD police officer Marnie Jernigan celebrates after winning the surprise gift during the sixth annual CFPD/Security Department Appreciation Luncheon on Oct. 8 at Cy-Fair High School. Jernigan won a $500 gift card from Southwest Airlines, which was among the numerous prizes and giveaways available to officers and luncheon attendees.

“This amazes me every year,” said Powell, now the assistant superintendent of support services. “It just gets bigger and bigger. Everybody wants to support CFPD.”

Chief Eric Mendez said he enjoyed his second appreciation luncheon since joining CFISD.

“I said it last year and I’ll say it again – I’m still in awe,” Mendez said. “You don’t see this in many places across the country, so for the employees, the departments, the community and the vendors to get together and do this for the officers is just tremendous…and I know that they appreciate it.”

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 seven years ago, and picking up the tab on a hamburger to show his appreciation. An event soon began with burgers and hot dogs.

Softball team members from Cy-Fair and Langham Creek high schools joined numerous departments to volunteer at the sixth annual CFPD/Security Department Appreciation Luncheon on Oct. 8 at Cy-Fair High School. The teams formed a spirit line with bats to welcome guests and delivered prizes to winners during the drawing.
Softball team members from Cy-Fair and Langham Creek high schools joined numerous departments to volunteer at the sixth annual CFPD/Security Department Appreciation Luncheon on Oct. 8 at Cy-Fair High School. The teams formed a spirit line with bats to welcome guests and delivered prizes to winners during the drawing.

To help take a simple 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 simply showing thanks and appreciation, the luncheon also allows multiple departments to come together, meet each other and open – or continue – lines of communication.

Staff members from CFISD transportation, facilities and construction, operations, nutrition services and general administration departments volunteered to help serve barbecue lunches during the sixth annual CFPD/Security Department Appreciation Luncheon on Oct. 8 at Cy-Fair High School.
Staff members from CFISD transportation, facilities and construction, operations, nutrition services and general administration departments volunteered to help serve barbecue lunches during the sixth annual CFPD/Security Department Appreciation Luncheon on Oct. 8 at Cy-Fair High School.

“It’s bridging that gap and building those relationships and bonds, and doing so in something that’s not necessarily a work setting,” Bridget Roome said. “We’re out here and everyone can just mingle and talk without the stress.”

Workers from the departments served lunch to the honored guests, with CFISD campuses, groups and transportation centers joining in the effort, buying shirts supporting CFPD and the luncheon. Music played during the meal, while 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.

“Cy-Fair ISD was very fortunate to be able to grow our security department into a police department,” Powell said. “We began our appreciation luncheon with transportation and the security/police departments to continue building relationships between the departments that worked so closely together and to show appreciation for the work they do.  Since that time, the luncheon has grown to include all support and facilities departments to demonstrate our appreciation and let them know we value all of our men and women who provide the support and security to our facilities, students and community, and to build those relationships so that all of us may better respond in times of need or crisis.”

Bridget Roome (left), CFISD transportation data management specialist, tells Eric Mendez (right), chief of police, of a cart that was gifted to CFPD at the finale of the sixth annual CFPD/Security Department Appreciation Luncheon on Oct. 8 at Cy-Fair High School. Looking on is Dr. Kayne Smith (center), director of transportation.
Bridget Roome (left), CFISD transportation data management specialist, tells Eric Mendez (right), chief of police, of a cart that was gifted to CFPD at the finale of the sixth annual CFPD/Security Department Appreciation Luncheon on Oct. 8 at Cy-Fair High School. Looking on is Dr. Kayne Smith (center), director of transportation.

The Cy-Fair and Langham Creek high school softball teams volunteered their time, from forming a spirit line with bats to welcome officers and attendees to delivering prizes to the winners during the drawing.

“It’s amazing that we continue to see the support,” Mendez said. “I think it’s a real morale boost for the officers and they appreciate this. It makes a tremendous difference in their day-in and day-out work and it makes a difference when they’re dealing with other employees in the district and other people in the community because they know they’re appreciated.”

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