Cordillera Ranch residents provide lunch for more than 1,000 officers, including the Border Patrol, Sheriff’s Department, DPS, Del Rio Police Department, Texas Rangers, National Guard and local first responders.
As the crisis along the South Texas border increases and roles of law enforcement become more physically and emotionally demanding, a group of Cordillera Ranch residents thought it was time to recognize the efforts of these men and women and thank them for their service. Spearheaded by Reed Smith, he reached out to his longtime friend, Sheriff Joe Frank Martinez, a Del Rio resident and officer with Val Verde County, to help coordinate the effort.
“Reed Smith is a good friend of the community and he had a great idea. More importantly, he had the connections through his previous employment to make it all possible. We picked a day and drove down a week prior to the event, and within hours we were dialed in to the head of law enforcement, Sheriff Joe Frank Martinez, the National Guard, first responders and Jimmy Murdock, a Del Rio business owner and icon for his leadership in the community. With these connections we were easily able to create a plan utilizing a site, equipment and local businesses to make it possible,” says Gary Hellmann.
News spread quickly throughout the Cordillera Ranch community and David Murdock says that 78 residents donated without a fundraising effort other than Cordillera’s Goods in the Hood Facebook page post and by word of mouth, adding, “Nearly all of the donation money was spent at Del Rio businesses.”
Boerne businesses, Dodging Duck and Black Rifle Coffee, generously contributed to the cause with paper goods and coffee, and Tom Keim also enlisted the help of a friend in the food business. “Brian Murray, a longtime friend and golfing buddy, is a Regional Manager with Smithfield Foods for the border areas and wanted to help. He and Smithfield, with the help of HEB in Del Rio, donated 500 pounds of Echrich Smoked Sausage toward the goal of feeding the agents, police and first responders,” he says. In addition to the sausage, the team of 25 residents and local volunteers prepared and served 500 pounds of brisket, 350 pounds of potato salad, 60 gallons of beans, 2,000 sugar cookies, soft drinks and water.
Then came the fun part. “These officers felt the love. They couldn’t say thank you enough. I received memorabilia from so many, ranging from the head of the Texas Rangers for that area to division leaders for the National Guard in that area. I heard over and over again how they’re always told that we appreciate their service but they all mentioned what our community did was far bigger than those words they get so used to hearing. I’m a veteran and that made me feel great to be a part of it,” says Hellman. Murdock says that the officers couldn’t believe a community all the way from Boerne, Texas, had made such an effort.
On the drive home, our caravan passed through the immigration checkpoint nearly an hour north of Del Rio, and the officers on duty were overjoyed to learn we were the group who provided the meal that made it all the way to their station.
Hellman and Murdock say conversations have begun for a second lunch/dinner on a much larger scale in light of the next wave of migrants and the 10,000 National Guard just dispatched to assist in maintaining order, and the generosity is really no surprise.
Scott McLallen, a new resident to Cordillera Ranch, heard about the luncheon from neighbors and jumped at the chance to serve: “One of the first things that was immediately obvious to my wife, Cara, and I after moving to Cordillera, aside from the friendliness of folks that we would meet, is the exceptional level of generosity from Cordillera residents. The amount of knowledge, time, finances and resources that our community is willing to share is truly special.”