Chambers County community rallies around Tallapoosa Girls Ranch

Published 9:00 am Tuesday, February 14, 2023

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VALLEY — Supporters of the Alabama Sheriffs’ Girls Ranch in Tallapoosa County were overjoyed with the community response with two events held for the Ranch over the weekend. On Saturday, the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office hosted the annual Grillin’ for Girls fundraiser at Valley Community Center and on Sunday the girls were treated to a family party at Legacy Weddings on US 280 near Camp Hill.

“It was an awesome, awesome weekend,” said Major T.J. Wood of the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office. “There was so much love given to the girls and the Girls Ranch staff. The response at both of these events was tremendous.”

With Saturday being a rainy day, the steaks were cooked underneath the pavilion at Langdale United Methodist Church. The former sheriff, Sid Lockhart, and the new one, Jeff Nelson, took part in the cooking. A total of 420 sirloin steaks were grilled, and they made for a fantastic meal during the 6 to 8 p.m. event.

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Ranch Director Candace Gulley, her daughter, eight girls from the Ranch and all of the house parents were in attendance. Candace’s husband stayed behind to be with the girls who remained on the Ranch.

“It was a packed house at the Community Center, and everyone had a good time,” Wood said. “Some came for take-out plates and many stayed for the auction.”

There was a silent auction and a live auction. The items that drew the most bidding were a couple of sporting rifles and a 50-inch flatscreen TV that was donated by Badcock & More in Valley. Newman’s Farm Supply in LaFayette also donated some nice items.

“We really appreciated the way volunteers came forward for this,” Wood said.”It was overwhelming the way people wanted to participate. There were many people who contacted us last week wanting to buy tickets, but we had sold them all. We want them to know that we will have more tickets when we do this next time.”

The steaks are purchased a week before the fundraiser. If any are left over, this cuts down on the proceeds that can go to the Ranch. On the other hand, if all of them are sold and more people are turned away, that cuts down on what’s given, too. That’s what happened this year.

‘“We’ll order more steaks and have more tickets next year,” Wood said. “We want people to keep reaching out to us on this.”

Later on this year, the annual Chambers County Sheriff’s Office onion sale will  be taking place. Some of the proceeds from this will be going to the Girls Ranch. The sale takes place each year when the much-loved sweet onions are being harvested in Vidalia, Georgia.