Warm, sunny weather was a great way to kick off the fall season and the biannual Jackson County COMBAT Community picnic in Raytown’s Colman-Livengood Park on Saturday.
The Hogan Preparatory Academy’s drumline kicked off the picnic with a performance. They were followed by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department’s Honor Guard with the National Anthem sung by Hogan Preparatory Academy student, Daniel Goldsten.
Teesha Miller, newly appointed COMBAT Director, welcomed the picnic guests, elected officials, agencies and partners. “Your support is why COMBAT has had such great success in our community for nearly 30 years… COMBAT has continued to be a long standing pillar of hope, action and change in our community because COMBAT is a priority for Jackson County.”
Legislator Alfred Jordan followed Miller and said, “[COMBAT] does so much to help fight against the things that would destroy our families and communities.”
Raytown Mayor Michael McDonough welcomed guests and COMBAT to the City of Raytown. He expressed his gratitude to COMBAT for hosting the picnic in Raytown and said, “COMBAT is one of the best taxes that we have out there. It helps all of us like me, who have been impacted through family members who have been on the bad side of drugs and the violence that those beget.”
Raytown Alderman Bonnaye Mims and Chief Jim Lynch of Raytown Police Department also spoke.
To conclude the opening program, one local woman shared her personal testimony on the importance of drug and violence prevention and treatment for our families and communities.
Hot 103 Jamz Radio Host Shay Moore served as the celebrity emcee. The afternoon was full of dynamic performances from the Hailey Massingale band, spoken word artist from ArtsTech and several rap performances by young artists from the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Kansas City.
Attendees enjoyed hot dogs and hamburgers grilled by Benilde Hall, ice cream, funnel cakes from The Funnel Cake Truck and ice cold water to cool down.
Activities featured at the picnic included bubbles by Grateful Bubbles, balloon art, caricature drawing, games, basketball, music, a petting zoo and pony rides by A-Z Exotic Animal Adventures and face painting and a photo booth provided by ArtsTech.
Local law enforcement from Blue Springs, Kansas City and Sugar Creek came to join in the fun and brought out emergency vehicles, D.A.R.E. cars and mounted patrol for the picnic.
Nearly 45 COMBAT funded partner agencies were represented at the picnic. Among them were Ad Hoc Group Against Crime, Amethyst Place, Arts Tech, Benilde Hall, Boys & Girls Club of GKC, Calvary, Community Outreach Network, Child Abuse Prevention Association, Child Protection Center, Community Service League, Comprehensive Mental Health, COPS, Cornerstones of Care, Crittenton Children’s Center, DeLaSalle Education Center, Dismas House of KC, Eastern Jackson County Youth Court, Independence Youth Court, First Call, Footprints, Guadalupe Centers, Healing House, Heartland, Center for Behavioral Change, High Aspirations, Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council, Jackson County CASA, Jackson County Drug Task Force, Jackson County Family Court, Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey, Kansas City Metropolitan Crime Commission, KC Mothers in Charge, MOCSA, Niles Home for Children, Northwest Community Development Corporation, Operation Breakthrough, Plaza Academy, ReDiscover, reStart, Rose Brook Center, Sheffield Place, Sisters in Christ, Synergy Services, Truman Medical Center, United Inner City Services and Whatsoever Community Center.
A huge thank you to all those who worked so hard to make the Community Picnic possible and thank you to all those who attended and made it a special afternoon.
For more information about Jackson County COMBAT, please visit: http://www.jacksoncountycombat.com.