Brandon businessman remembers deceased mentor as he feeds first responders


BRANDON, Miss. (WJTV) – First responders in Rankin County were treated to free dinner thanks to a business owner who’s connection with first responders goes all the way back to his childhood. 

All this to keep the community at peace and trust with local law enforcement.

While many have had their disputes with law enforcement agencies across America, that hasn’t stopped one Brandon restaurant owner from giving back to Rankin County first responders. This carries on the memory of one of his former mentors who served on the police force. 

Growing up in Detroit, Michigan, John Owens recalls memories of officer Willie Mac Worthy teaching him how to become a man. 

“Took care of everybody and everybody knew who he was and just someone you didn’t believe was from your neighborhood,” Owens described. “But he’d pull up and play basketball with you or football with you. He was like a superhero to all the kids.”

One day Owens mentor died in the line of duty, now as he saw other officers being attacked in riots, he vowed to not let those feelings come to Brandon. 

“I said somebody must do something so Saturday night I was lying in bed and I said were going to make a stand,” Owens said. “We’re going to invite every officer to Taste of Detroit and we’re going to feed them.”

For deputies and officers patrolling Rankin County the generosity means more than a free meal. 

“I saw that someone made a difference in his life, a police officer did, and I want to do that also,” Deputy Nancy Watts told us. “Other officer that I’ve been speaking with are school resources officers, we work out in the community and that’s what we are here for.”

“Everybody has their beliefs and are upset, and they have a right to be,” Pearl Police Chief Dean Scott said. “As long as we know that approach that house or approach that Business if people would listen and not talk, I think it would be a better place. People just want to be heard.” 

Alongside veteran owned Eddie Wright’s Barbeque, Owens says acts like these will truly keep communities unified against any kind of violence. 

“We can stop a lot of the stuff that’s going on out there and I’m so proud of Mississippi for not partaking in the non-sense,” Owens stated. “Destroying our own stuff or these people to get businesses off the ground. I’m so proud of Mississippi for doing that.” 

To carry on this act of generosity people have come up and gave tips to John Owens even though he did not ask for it. He says they’ll use the funds to carry out more fundraisers later this year.

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