Crawfish Cook-Off raises money for Deen and Tate scholarship

Crawfish Cook-Off raises money for Deen and Tate scholarship
photo credit: WDAM
photo credit: WDAM

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A crawfish cook-off raised money for the Deen and Tate Memorial Scholarship Fund Saturday afternoon at the Keg and Barrel.

There was sizzling crawfish, live music and a little bit of competition.

While participants were focused on cooking their best crawfish, their hearts were with Deen and Tate.

"I think this is important to remember that these people are human beings," said Officer Shannon Harris. "They are just like anybody else. They put on a uniform, they go out, they leave their families everyday and they are not sure if they are going to come back and return to their families."

The Greater Pinebelt Community Foundation made the Deen and Tate Memorial Scholarship for injured officers or family members that are studying in school or the police academy.

"We are just trying to make it a meaningful time for the family because they suffered so much," said Wayne Landers, scholarship committee chairman.

Sgt. Mike Hoffer was a good friend of Benjamin Deen and said he remembers the first time he met him at the police academy.

"B.J. was always looking out for other people," Hoffer said. "He was never as concerned with himself than he was with others."

Several other police officers also decided to cook up some fun to support the Hattiesburg Police Department, especially since Police Memorial Week starts Monday.

"We are here and we are law enforcement brothers and that's why we continue to do what we do, and from the Jones County Sheriff's Department to wherever it is, we are one brotherhood," said Maj. Jamie Tedford with the Jones County Sheriff's Department.

Only a week after the year anniversary of Deen and Tate's death, friends and family continue to heal and remember their impact on the community.

"I do feel his presence and his strength and support all the time," Hoffer said. "Like I said, B.J. was a great guy and a great police officer and I feel like I get his strength from  him all the time."

If you are interested in donating toward the scholarship, go to the Pinebelt Foundation website and click on the "DONATE TODAY" button.