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Crowd turns out to raise money for hospitalized sheriff’s deputy

The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office has fired up grills in its parking lot 100 or more times to raise money for employee needs or nonprofits, but Thursday’s fundraiser for Brian Benfield might top the list for most food sold, said Sgt. David Earnhardt.

Benfield has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a month and is expected to be moved from the hospital into a long-term care facility. His wife and son also contracted COVID-19 and have since recovered.

To help their co-worker, Rowan County Sheriff’s Office employees on Thursday turned into short-order cooks, grilling hotdogs and making sausage sandwiches in the parking lot next to the Rowan County Courthouse. They drew a line of interested customers and pre-arranged orders, too,

“This is probably the biggest one we’ve ever done, the most food we’ve ever sold,” said Earnhardt, who’s Benfield’s supervisor.

He estimated the fundraiser would cover a large chunk of Benfield’s out-of-pocket hospital bills, but it wouldn’t come close to fully covering expenses he will incur.

“When one of our own is involved with something or needs help, we try and do something for them, help them out as much as we can,” Earnhardt said.

As they watched the line of people purchasing food Thursday, Benfield’s daughter, Gracie, and his dad, Ned, called it “a blessing.”

“Brian made a lot of friends,” Ned Benfield said. “We’re thankful.”

For more about Brian Benfield’s hospitalization, click or tap here to read the Post’s story published Thursday: “Rowan Sheriff’s Office holding fundraiser for deputy hospitalized with COVID-19.”

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