MARION - Friends, family and co-workers of corrections officer Jason Lewis with the Williamson County Sheriff's Office gathered in the lobby of the office on Friday to hold a BBQ lunch benefit for Lewis. The officer is battling Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Proceeds from the lunch, provided by Big Blues Que in Creal Springs, went to help offset Lewis's medical expenses.
"It's overwhelming, I appreciate it," Lewis said. "I love everything about it, and I appreciate all of the support."
When asked about his health, Lewis said he felt "good" on Friday, but "it comes and goes."
"Everything's day-to-day," he said.
Lewis has been a corrections officer at Williamson County for only two years. He and his wife, Jennifer, have two daughters, Madison, 4, and McKinlee, who is almost 2.
The meal featured a BBQ sandwich with cole slaw, baked bans, and dessert for $8. Visitors could also pick up a printed ribbon to wear in support of Lewis.
Marilyn Reynolds, the nurse at the sheriff's office, said that the fundraiser was a group effort between employees and Lewis's friends and family.
"Jason needs all the help he can get," Reynolds said. "Any help that he can get towards his medical expenses would be great."
Between several donations and more than 850 meals sold, a preliminary estimate by Reynolds saw the benefit raising at least $8,000 to support Lewis and his family.
Williamson County Sheriff Bennie Vick spoke highly of Lewis and the work done on the benefit.
"He (Lewis) does a really good job for us, and he's a really good person. I think this is wonderful, the union and his peers kicking in to help when he's in a bad spot. It's great, it's wonderful."
While there is no follow-up fundraiser scheduled, Reynolds stated that organizers are exploring the possibility of a silent auction or creating T-Shirts.
Those looking to make a donation and support Lewis can do so by contacting employees of the sheriff's office, or by dropping off donations to the front-desk worker.
"Here at the sheriff's department and in the jail, we're a big family, and when one of our own is in need of help, we'll all pull together as a family to help that employee," Reynolds said.