People coming together to support unity
"Unity in the Community," a public event set for Friday, Aug. 12, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Journey Church, will bring people from all walks of life together so they can show their love for each other and appreciation for police officers and other first-responders in Woodford County. The community gathering is being organized by Journey Church and one of its members, Andrea "Bug" Brown. She wants people of all races and religions to come together to show unity in a world where racism and violence against one another has seemingly become all too common. "Heaven is not going to be segregated - that's what kept coming into my mind," said Brown, when asked to explain why she felt compelled to organize "Unity in the Community" at Journey Church. ".We've got to come together." The lifelong Woodford County resident said she was raised to not see color, but instead look at a person's heart. "And that's what needs to be passed on to our community," she explained. ".Get to know your brother and sister in Christ. Get to know a person that is even a nonbeliever. Look at the heart of a person, and quit looking at the skin color." Randy Nation, senior minister at Journey Church, described "Unity in the Community" as an opportunity to bring "all of our churches together." By singing and worshipping together, people can make the gathering a way to promote unity and pray for police officers and other first-responders in the community, Nation said. Darrick Briscoe, a pastor in Danville, who has ties here, will be one of three scheduled speakers at the unity event. "It's a time to pull everybody together and recognize that we need to love one another and accept one another and be able to appreciate one another more," said Nation. The event comes on the heels of a "Civility Gathering" on the steps of Versailles United Methodist Church on July 25. Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott said the community cannot have too many events that bring people together for conversations so the violence and disorder happening elsewhere does not happen here. "I don't think we can do enough as a community to show our appreciation (for police officers and other first-responders)," said Traugott. "When there are shots fired or houses on fire, those are the people that are running in the direction towards (the danger). Once I became mayor, I realized how thankless their job often is." "On a good day," he added, "they put their lives at risk." Woodford County Sheriff Wayne "Tiny" Wright described the recent outpouring of support and thanks from people in the community as very much appreciated. "That means a whole lot to us," he explained, "knowing our community is behind us." Kentucky Bank thanked local law enforcement officers for their service to the community by paying for their meals at Callie's Homestyle Restaurant on Monday. And people have been dropping off food to thank deputies at the Woodford County Sheriff's Department and officers at Versailles Police Department in the days and weeks since law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty in other communities. "There's always somebody thanking you for what you do," said Wright, who recently got a hug to thank him for his service. The 31-year law enforcement veteran said he prays every day that this community never has an incident involving police shootings like those that have occurred in Baton Rouge, La., Dallas, Texas, and San Diego, Calif. He described any police-involved shooting as a "tragedy on both sides" - regardless of who has been killed. What makes Wright "very proud" about becoming Woodford County's sheriff in 2007 "is how well we work together to solve any problem that's there," he said. Because "once you lose the public's trust - how do you recover from it?" "Unity in the Community" is being held in the auditorium at Journey Church (formerly Woodford Community Christian Church), located off Lexington Road at 320 Hope Lane. For additional information, visit journeyky.church.