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Breakfast benefits Family Connection
Celebrity Waiter pic 1
Mayor James Grogan gets a coffee refill for a patron during Family Connections annual celebrity waiter breakfast at LongHorn Steakhouse last Friday. - photo by Amy French Dawson County News

Dawsonville Mayor James Grogan was ready and waiting with a pot of freshly brewed coffee on Friday morning-he was just having trouble finding someone to drink it.

As Grogan made his way through the tables at LongHorn Steakhouse, he said with a smile, that no one drinks coffee anymore.

Grogan, along with many other local celebrities, donned aprons and trays and smiles as they served up Dawson County residents for the annual Celebrity Waiter Breakfast to benefit Family Connection.

In its ninth year, the event is a fundraiser, but as Coordinator Nancy Stites emphasized it's more an opportunity to bring out the community to enjoy some time together.

That's what Dawson County Schools Director of Student Support Janice Darnell was doing as she sat with friends and co-workers Rita Gilleland and Linda Byrd in her first-ever time at the breakfast.

"Family Connection supports our school system in so many ways, so [here] we can support them back," Darnell said.

Diners enjoyed a wide variety of choices from the buffet of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits, French toast, fruit and muffins.

The celebrity wait staff took drink orders and refilled coffee as needed.

Many of the volunteer staff have been on board since the beginning said Stites who specifically thanked Jill Gray, the LongHorn Steakhouse general managing partner as well as all of the LongHorn staff.

"It is fun to see all of the community working together for a cause," Byrd said. "The fire department, city, commissioners. It is small [the community], but everybody comes together."

This year's turnout was bigger than last with 240 attendees, according to Stites' preliminary numbers.

Early figures also show that the event raised around $4,100. That money will help fund child abuse prevention activities, foster parent promotion and other activities to support families and children, Stites said.

"There seemed to be a steady flow of diners and we were able to sit everyone without waiting," Stites said. "It was really exciting to see so many people waiting to come in when the doors opened. That was a fantastic way to begin."

Servers like Dawson County High School Head Football Coach Sid Maxwell and Cross Country Coach Charles Beusse were finding their niche in waiting tables.

Maxwell felt more comfortable this year as it was his second year to participate and Beusse enjoyed his first time out in support of Family Connection.

"I've heard about the event for years, but had never had the opportunity to serve until this year.

"To see so many leaders within Dawson County show up to serve at the event and to see the outpouring of community support was absolutely amazing. Events like this give those of us in the school system, local government and local businesses an opportunity to contact with the people in our community. Today showcased why Dawson County is so special to me," Beusse said.

Dawson County Family Connection is part of a statewide initiative of collaborative partnerships to improve the lives of children and families in Georgia.

Diner Larry Harris said he's been attending the breakfast for five years and as a retired juvenile probation officer understands how important it is to support kids and families in need.

"When a child in need is identified, it is often a matter of helping the family as a whole in order to impact the life of that child," Harris said. "Organizations like Family Connection offer resources for doing so, filling an important role in the community."

"We just can't thank enough all the people that made this a memorable community event," Stites said.