Turner fam­ily cel­e­brates re­union in Cen­tre­ville

Honor lo­cal law en­force­ment

Record Observer - - Community - By DOUG BISHOP dbishop@kibay­times.com

CEN­TRE­VILLE — In swel­ter­ing heat (90 de­grees in the shade) Satur­day af­ter­noon, July 23, the Turner fam­ily re­union, held at Con­quest Beach Park in Cen­tre­ville, rec­og­nized Sher­iff Gary Hof­mann and the Queen Anne’s County Sher­iff’s Of­fice. More than 200 mem­bers of the Turner, Parker, Thomp­son and Galloway fam­i­lies, pre­dom­i­nantly African Amer­i­can, at­tended their fam­ily re­union in the out­door pavil­ion along­side the Cor­sica River.

On the fam­ily web­site, the event was listed as “A cel­e­bra­tion of fam­ily her­itage,” promoting “kind­ness, love and for­give­ness.” It listed all the events planned for the day, in­clud­ing chil­dren’s sack races, moon bounce and beach fun.

The for­mal pro­gram be­gan with a Chris­tian prayer, ask­ing for con­tin­ued bless­ings on their fam­i­lies. Then the youngest chil­dren were in­tro­duced, show­ing pic­tures of their late grand­par­ents and de­scrib­ing who their grand­par­ents were in their earthly lives.

Teigan Turner, 8, of Ch­ester, de­scribed her late grand­fa­ther, James Richard Turner II, say­ing, “He was a sol­dier dur­ing World War II and served in Europe!” to the ap­plause and cheer­ing of fam­ily mem­bers. Teigan spoke clearly and with pride about her late grand­fa­ther.

Sev­eral other chil­dren of dif­fer­ent ages fol­lowed, speak­ing of their grand­par­ents. One of the fo­cuses of the re­union was fam­ily his­tory, es­pe­cially an ap­pre­ci­a­tion by the chil­dren.

Then mas­ter of cer­e­monies, “Pas­tor” Chris Dil­lard spoke briefly say­ing, “Re­gard­less of your last name, we are all fam­ily here to­day. I said, we’re all fam­ily here to­day! I’d like to in­tro­duce my ‘light-skinned brother,’ please lis­ten to what he has to say.”

His “light-skinned brother” was Ma­jor Dwayne Board­man, rep­re­sent­ing Queen Anne’s County Sher­iff Gary Hof­mann. Smil­ing, Board­man said, “It’s hard to fol­low that in­tro­duc­tion about who I am but, I’m hon­ored to be here.”

Board­man said Hof­mann was away on va­ca­tion va­ca­tion and could not at­tend but he emailed a mes­sage for Board­man to read: “It takes all of us, through dis­cus­sion and vi­sion to fur­ther com­mu­nity re­la­tions.”

Hof­mann’s mes­sage was par­tic­u­larly directed to youth, say­ing, “In so­ci­ety to­day where the me­dia drives re­la­tion­ships, we all have chal­lenges ahead. I feel it’s im­por­tant to stress that our youth are our fu­ture, and we all are de­pend­ing on you (youth) to lead our coun­try. You have so many men­tors here to­day. Take a few min­utes to shake hands with some­one you haven’t met, and hug those whom you love. Time and fam­ily are pre­cious gifts our Lord has given us.

“Daily, in Queen Anne’s County, we strive to en­sure all per­sons are treated equally, with re­spect and dig­nity. To­gether, my staff and I stand with our com­mu­nity to help and guide in any way pos­si­ble, side by side, work­ing to­gether as one com­mu­nity .... ” Hof­mann wrote. “Thanks for shar­ing your fam­ily with us.”

Fol­low­ing the re­marks, mem­bers of the Turner fam­ily who or­ga­nized the re­union, asked to have their pic­ture taken with Board­man in a sign of sup­port and unity with law en­force­ment.

Richard Turner, 50, of Ch­ester, a small busi­ness owner of­fer­ing ser­vices in the boat in­dus­try, said, “I met Gary Hof­mann seven years ago. For the past seven months he and folks from QA Parks & Rec have helped me plan our fam­ily re­union. In get­ting to know Sherif f Hof­mann, I like what he stands for. Our mes­sage as a fam­ily is all lives mat­ter, and we sup­port the mis­sion and jobs of our law en­force­ment per­son­nel. Mem­bers of my fam­ily are law en­force­ment mem­bers. They have a very dif­fi­cult job pro­tect­ing us all.”

He con­tin­ued, “I un­der­stand and sup­port what the Black Lives Mat­ter or­ga­ni­za­tion is say­ing, how­ever, all peo­ple need to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for their own ac­tions, re­gard­less of color. We are all hu­man be­ings, and we need to stop blam­ing oth­ers for where we are in life. Amer­ica is the land of op­por­tu­nity. If you fall off a horse, get up in the saddle again and get go­ing. Make the best with what you can do.

“There are bad cops just like there are bad peo­ple in ev­ery oc­cu­pa­tion,” Turner con­tin­ued. “All we hear about are the few bad po­lice, but what about the mil­lions of po­lice who get up ev­ery­day and do their jobs cor­rectly? We don’t hear any­thing about them. The me­dia is mak­ing them all sound like they’re bad, and that’s not right or true. I have friends who are African-Amer­i­cans, Lati­nos, Filipinos, whites, what­ever. In this na­tion, we should all be to­gether — we’re Amer­i­cans. I want ev­ery­one to know that Sher­iff Hof­mann has been a big sup­port to me and some­one I con­sider a friend.”

The fam­ily re­union had great food, in­clud­ing steamed crabs, and the event was catered by a pro­fes­sional. Four dif­fer­ent Corvette St­ingray car clubs came to­gether to have their cars at the event, along with sev­eral mo­tor­cy­cle group own­ers. Mu­sic was pro­vided by a DJ, and there were mul­ti­ple events for chil­dren through­out the af­ter­noon.

Board­man con­cluded his re­marks say­ing, “As you can see from driv­ing here, this is a beau­ti­ful county. En­joy this park. Watch out for each other in this heat to­day — stay hy­drated!”

The Turner fam­ily pro­vided a large mo­torhome on the park grounds with air con­di­tion­ing to help those at­tend­ing to deal with the heat.

PHOTO BY DOUG BISHOP

Nu­mer­ous chil­dren read or spoke about their an­ces­tors, as the Turner, Galloway, Thomp­son and Parker fam­i­lies had a fam­ily his­tory seg­ment to their fam­ily re­union, re­mem­ber­ing and hon­or­ing the mem­ory of those who had come be­fore them.

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