BRANDON, Miss. (WLBT) - Taste of Detroit owner John Owens says as he watched the news coverage of events around the country, he had a talk with God.
“I’m not the smartest person but I asked God, I said, ‘God, this is me. You have to show me exactly what you want me to do, or I’m going to miss the ticket,’” he said.
Owens grew up in Detroit, where he was mentored by a police officer named Willie Mac Worthy. Mr. Mack, as he was known, owned a hardware store where he would take care of the neighborhood kids, giving them a place to hang out and sometimes buying them ice cream.
Worthy paid for football camp for several of the children in Owens’ neighborhood. Some, including Owens, went on to play in the NFL.
“He was an officer that also lost his life in the line of duty,” Owens said. “And today we’re going to let this be an honor to him."
So in order to reach across the thin blue line and encourage officers, Owens decided to feed as many as would come eat in the parking lot of his business in Brandon Thursday night.
“I’m very grateful for what they’re doing. Our community, Pearl, Brandon, Flowood, they’re pretty proud of their police departments, they rally around us,” said Pearl Police Chief Dean Scott.
Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey was also there with several of his deputies.
“This is the perfect example of why Rankin County is different than the rest of the world right now,” he said.
Owens was joined by Marine Corps veteran Eddie Wright, who says he wanted to be part of the solution too.
“As a Veteran and as a person in this world who understands what’s going on, I just felt compelled to help," Wright said. "It wasn’t about me, it was about preserving what we already have as people in this world, and to just continue to push the good vibes forward.”
“This is our stand to say hey look, we’re behind you guys, we notice you doing your jobs, putting your life on the line every day for us, and this is a small token for us to say, hey look, everyone out here ain’t messed up,” Owens said.