Every year since 1993, Bell County elected officials have joined together to purchase food and drinks for their employees, with the commissioners then cooking the food and officials serving the meal.
What began two decades ago as an appreciation luncheon for about 300 employees has grown to an impressive Awards and Recognition Ceremony, with some 1,000 in attendance this year.
Bell County commissioners got an early start heating up the smokers early the day before the barbecue, applying their secret spice rub, and then cooking brisket and sausage until the following morning. Their finished product was served with sides of potato salad and beans.
In 1993, about 334 pounds of beef, 225 pounds of sausage, and 160 pounds of potato salad were served. This year, 805 pounds of beef, 250 pounds of sausage, and 240 pounds of potato salad were prepared.
Six county officials who served food in 1993 were once again serving this year: Commissioner Richard Cortese, Treasurer Charles Jones, Court at Law Judge Ed Johnson, Sheriff Eddy Lange, Justice of the Peace G.W. Ivey, and Constable Edd Melton, III.
County Judge Jon Burrows presented Longevity Awards to 166 employees, including four for 30 years of service.