Jun. 27—EAST COBB — Standing beside a softball field at Terrell Mill Park on Saturday, Rhonda Anderson, chief deputy of the Cobb County Sheriff's Office, did not hesitate when asked to pick the winner of that evening's game.
"Of course, the sheriff's office," Anderson said, before adding, "But there's not going to be any losers as long as we just — it's camaraderie here. There won't be a loser, but I think we'll come out on top on that scoreboard."
Cobb churches squared off against the Cobb County Sheriff's Office in a softball game meant to bolster community relations.
"With everything that's going on in the world — I don't have to go down the list," Count Me In founder Ricky Mims said Saturday. "We shouldn't just get together when things are going bad. We shouldn't just wait. We should be in more control of our situation than that."
Saturday afternoon, Destiny World Church in Austell defeated Cobb-based nonprofit BlackPush Inc. 15-13. Later that evening, the Cobb County Sheriff's Office led 5-3 against a team made up of members of Vision for Souls Church, Courageous Worship Church and Destiny World Church before a downpour ended the event.
"We as a church community want to bridge the gap with the sheriff's department, and we just want everyone to know that we are all on the same team, and even though we have some opposing sides sometimes, we can all come together as a community to have some fun," said Dana R. Mitchell, a minister with Destiny World Church. "It's just something that's needed in 2021."
Mims said members of the three churches did not know one another before Saturday's event.
"So that was a relationship (built)," he said. "And then now, in the sheriff's department, I just met some people I never met before. Now we have a relationship. So all of this is planting the seed, and that's all we really want to do."
Beyond relationship building events, Count Me In offers tutoring lessons to students in the Cobb community, Mims said. When the coronavirus made in-person tutoring risky, Count Me In began offering virtual lessons led by high schools students and adults. People interested in becoming tutors can sign up at countmeingroup.org.
Before everyone ran for shelter as the rain came in, Chief Deputy Anderson coached third base for the sheriff's team.
"The sheriff's office is trying to get that bond, to get all our officers involved in the community," Anderson said. "We're reaching out to everyone in the Cobb County community to let them know that the sheriff's office is here to protect and serve and be a part of the community."
MDJ Senior Editor Jon Gillooly contributed to this report.