Richmond County’s new sheriff began a tradition Friday night aimed at allowing people to mingle with law enforcement and raise money for Augusta charities.
The Legends Club on Washington Road was full of tuxedos and floor-length gowns at the Inaugural Charity Gala honoring Sheriff Richard Roundtree.
The 300-person dinner was sold out Thursday afternoon, thanks to sponsors who purchased full tables of 10 and donated a few seats back to the sheriff’s office, Lt. Lewis Blanchard said.
Having people interact with law enforcement was one of the goals of the night, Roundtree said.
“Tonight is a new beginning for Augusta,” he said. “Everyone getting together. We got business owners; we got citizens and elected officials.”
Proceeds from the tickets, which cost $150 per person or $250 per couple, went to five local charities: Augusta Partnership for Children, SafeHomes of Augusta, Wounded Warriors, Easter Seals and Golden Harvest Food Bank.
“That’s what my administration is going to be about,” Roundtree said. “It’s about partnership.”
The night began with a cocktail hour, then moved to the dining room for a program that included an invocation and blessing from state Sen. Hardie Davis and remarks from former Mayor Bob Young.
Mayor Deke Copenhaver spoke about Roundtree being part of a new generation of leaders in Augusta, and how he hopes they can work as a team. He touched on how Roundtree made history as the county’s first black sheriff and said he has a “tremendous” opportunity to be a role model for young men.
“I want to support him in that,” Copenhaver said.
Blanchard said the gala was an opportunity for the Roundtree administration to make allies in the community.
With 250 employees in the sheriff’s office, they can only see so much. But with the rest of the citizens’ help, they can cover the rest, he said.
“Tonight is about everyone getting together in a relaxed environment,” he said. “We will be in the community. This is just one of those ways.”
Deputy Sheriff Patrick Clayton said the night was also to celebrate his longtime friend and colleague.
“We are here to celebrate the sheriff,” he said. “This is a great night to do that.”