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Coffee with Cops builds community links

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ATHENS–The Coffee with Cops event held Jan. 5 at the McDonald’s in Athens is the brainchild of the restaurant’s owners, Kevin and Jeaneane Lilly, to show support for law enforcement and first responders.
The latest event gave the community another opportunity to meet Athens Police Chief John Densmore, as well as his staff. Densmore was hired as Athens’ police chief in Jan. 2021, succeeding Buddy Hill, who retired from the post after 29 years at the helm.
“This is probably our second year to do this, like the second time with Chief Densmore since he came to Athens over a year ago,” Kevin Lilly said. “We originally did it as a way to meet Chief Densmore and many of the people who he has out on the front line.”
Densmore and his officers were joined by U.S. Rep. Lance Gooden, State Rep. Keith Bell, County Judge Wade McKinney, Henderson County District Attorney Jenny Palmer and Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse, which Lilly called a “who’s who of public officials.”
“We just thought it was a great time to show our support to the police department and the first responders working hard every day for the community and for people to meet these folks,” Lilly said. “They are doing a good job for the community.”
The Lillys also hold events like Coffee with Cops in Tyler and Kilgore, also home to Lilly Enterprises-owned McDonald’s restaurants. “It’s kind of a mainstay for us, a way to keep connected with the community. We think that’s important. Showing support for the men in blue, as they say, ‘back the blue.’ All the Texas citizens definitely support our law enforcement.”
Lilly was pleased with the turnout, not only from elected officials but also from residents. “We’re extremely ecstatic from the support we had from the community,” he said.