Participants are predicting lots of jeers and jokes when they take the podium Thursday night at a fundraising "roast and toast" for Saline County Judge Lanny Fite. However, all have been quick to say that they have enormous respect for the man who has led the county for the past 16 years.
Slated as "roasters" at the Thursday night event are former state Sen. Shane Broadway, who now heads the state Higher Education Department; County Assessor Jim Crawford; Saline County Attorney Jonathan Greer; state Rep. Kim Hammer, who represents District 28 that includes Benton and other portions of Saline County; and Travas Parker, facilities manager of the local Huber plant.
The tribute is set for 6 p.m. Thursday at the Benton Event Center.
Broadway, who is serving as chairman of the fundraiser, called it a "great opportunity to recognize Lanny for his service to our community as our county judge also help to raise funds for a great cause."
On a lighter note, Broadway said, "We're gonna roast him and we might do a little toasting. He's a brave man for offering himself up for this."
Broadway said he's "proud to be part" of the tribute to Fite. "I think it will be a fun evening to honor a great man."
Crawford said Fite has "always been supportive of each of us, especially me, and I'm proud to have been able to serve with him."
"I look forward to being part of this tribute," he said. "And I look forward to getting to make a few comments before he leaves office."
Greer noted that the "public hasn't had an opportunity to toast Fite in a number of years."
"This will be a testimonial to his public service and a great send-off to his new job with the state," Greer said.
Fite did not seek another term in the county judge's office, but ran unopposed for a state representative's post.
Hammer said he is "looking forward to celebrating the leadership of a longtime county judge."
"Saline County will miss him, but is blessed to have him move up to the next level where he will serve the entire state while continuing to help the county," he said.
Individual tickets for the event are $100 and the cost is $1,000 for a table of 10. In addition, bronze sponsors are $2,500; silver sponsors are $5,000; gold sponsors are $10,000; and platinum sponsors are $15,000.
Calvin Johnson, executive director of the housing entity, may be contacted at 840-3544 or 778-7302 for reservations.
Johnson noted that Mid-State Affordable Housing Corp. offers home-buyer education and counseling to low-income home buyers.
The program operates in conjunction with the Benton Public Housing Authority.
Additional information about the event is available by contacting Catherine Johnson at 501-347-4399 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
She said donations will be accepted from individuals, companies and foundations even if they cannot attend the fundraiser.