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Dozens of law enforcement officers, emergency responders and state troopers gathered Wednesday for the sixth annual cookout-style lunch held to say “thank you” for their public service.

The family of A.J. Hutto, owner of Dukes-Harley Funeral Home and Crematory, hosted at the event.

“Thank you all for all you do for the community and for us,” said Mark Hutto of Dukes-Harley.

His brother, Jay Hutto, led in a prayer asking for God’s blessing on the meal and protection for officers and their families.

Antley’s BBQ provided barbecue along with all of the fixings and Orangeburg Chick-fil-A provided cookies, brownies, sweet tea and complimentary pens.

“Law enforcement is one of the most unappreciated professions in the world and it really does us all good when somebody takes the time out of their schedule and says ‘thank you.’ I really appreciate it and my people appreciate it,” Calhoun County Sheriff Thomas Summers said.

Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell said the annual cookout, “is a time we get to see each other in law enforcement other than when responding to domestic situations and traffic incidents.”

Ravenell and Summers thanked the Hutto family.

“It really makes a difference when you are recognized for what you do,” Orangeburg County Emergency Medical Services Director Danny Rivers said.

“Just feeding us and saying, ‘Thank you for what you do.’ It makes it worth it. That’s what we do, too: We come out to help the community,” Rivers said.

S.C. Highway Patrol Trooper 1st Class Tyler Tidwell said, “This is great. The whole community can get together. It just shows appreciation for law enforcement. I’m glad to be here.”

The Huttos also gave officers and emergency personnel gifts of embroidered backpacks.

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Contact the writer: mbrown@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5545. Follow on Twitter: @MRBrownTandD

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Staff Writer

Martha Rose Brown covers crime and other topics. The South Carolina native has been a journalist for the past 17 years.

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