Turner family celebrates reunion in Centreville
Honor local law enforcement
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.
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.