4th Annual HPOU Family Picnic just keeps on getting Better and better, drawing a record 3,000 in attendance

Tom Kennedy

For the fourth consecutive fall a good time was had by all who attended the annual HPOU Family Picnic.

Every year sets a new attendance record and this year was no exception despite the change of venue.

Colton Peverill, chairman of the Picnic Committee, said everything went really well, saying, “Everybody was really positive and everybody liked the venue. We definitely had another record number of people there. The coordinator at the venue said we had at least 3,000 people.”

Celebrities made appearances too. Mayoral candidate Sylvester Turner made a speech to stir up attendees about voting in the Dec. 12 mayoral runoff election. Turner is backed 100 percent by the HPOU Political Action Committee. He was well received, to say the least.

Also in the crowd was Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman, who also spoke and visited with the crowd and enjoyed the fun, food and frolic.

Initially Peverill and his fellow committee members were concerned about this year’s change in venue at a later time in the fall. This year the event took place at the Houston Farm and Ranch Club, 1 Abercrombie St., in West Houston, near the intersection of Interstate 10 and Highway 6.

“We’re going to be back at this same location,” he said. “We’re already looking into booking it again next year. The weather was very nice. We couldn’t have had better weather.

“We’re going to keep it in November but it won’t be the first week in November since that’s the start of hunting season.”

The picnic chairman said the food team did a fantastic job this year. “They were phenomenal,” he said. “Everybody thought the food was really good and the team never got behind in the serving line. Everybody who wanted food got fed. This year we had plenty of food.

“They ran out of drinks and we ended up going for out for more.”

The kids present enjoyed the bounce house, the game truck and an “adolescent size” mechanical bull. They also got excited about prizes and the raffle of a PlayStation 4.

And there was a shoot house that featured old-time Western shootouts.

HPOU benefactor Alan Helfman of River Oaks Chrysler-Jeep donated some exciting and valuable sports memorabilia that many attendees took home with them. The “stuff” included autographed pictures of Houston Texans, Houston Astros and, yes, even the Houston Oilers and Houston Rockets.

The adults also participated in raffles for a Sony 4K flat screen television and a Go Pro video recorder.

Peverill was excited about sale of the HPOU Family Picnic t-shirts designed by Lisa Marino and featuring many sizes for the younger kids.

“We will do better next year,” he said. “We must have run out of them after the first five minutes. They were really a big hit. Everybody really liked them. Literally, within an hour they were gone.”

C and G Wholesale gave away several very nice backpacks “loaded full of stuff” and Costco and Mickey Keyes’ PHH Mortgage also contributed another gift basket loaded down with goodies.

Farley Orthodontics, which features a dentist who is the wife of an HPD Narcotics officer, gave away $5,000 worth of braces!

The picnic also provided HPD’s finest an opportunity to show out. Present with individual booths with presentations and show time for the kids were the K-9 Unit, the Bomb Squad and SWAT. “They did some demonstrations and saw lots of the kids walk up to see their equipment and watch what they could do,” Peverill said. “Everybody loved that. They did a really good job.

“And, by the way, the FIVE-0 Band led by Officer Tim Wyers sounded as good as always. Everybody loved it!”

Besides Peverill, the following board members have taken part in the planning of the event, always recognized as the Union’s greatest family event of the year. Those board members are Tom Hayes, Joe Gamaldi, Luis Menendez-Sierra, Robert Sandoval, Bill Booth, David Riggs, Tim Butler and Douglas Griffith.

Peverill also singled out Assist The Officer executive director Mike Mitchell and HPOU’s own Lisa Marino for their hard work in the planning process. He had special personal applause for Hayes and Mitchell for their hard work and dedication to making sure the family picnic was a steady stream of fun and excitement.