The Gabby Guy says Variety is the spice of life and proves the police really know how to party.
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Bill took us on a tour. The bar-lounge-game room was cozy, but the floor-to-ceiling knotty pine paneling of the windowless hall gave it the distinct look of a finished basement, circa 1964, the year it was built. “Yeah,” Draper said. “We’d like to update the look without completely abandoning the history and familiarity our members have come to expect.” Call Ty Pennington.
As food and beverage manager at DAP, Reggie Harvey is the man responsible for getting the good times rolling. We asked how he planned to handle the expected 2,000 guests in the hall and adjacent luau tent. As he ducked behind the knotty pine bar, we heard his last words for the night: “I’m hiding.”
We asked lead man in the kitchen, Mike Goodwin, what went equally well with beer and piña coladas. “How about barbecue pulled pork on potato rolls, sausage, roast beef, cheese steaks, and ranch and bacon salad?” Any veggies with that? (We knew the answer but asked anyway.) Mike shrugged. “The roll?”
Kitchen helper Allison Yerkes said they were “ready for anything,” and Laura McElwain reminded Mike to plug the opening of C.P. Goodwins Bar and Grille in Wilmington. It’s behind Retro Fitness. (You might want to offer a salad or two, Mike.)
DAP president Joe Leary took a moment from greeting Hawaiian-shirted and lei-wearing guests to speak about DAP’s community and family outreach programs, such as Little League sponsorhips, the oldest all-police softball team and its annual pushmobile derby. “And, yes, we’d like to make a few building improvements, inside and out,” he added before being summoned back to aloha duty at the gate. That’s where we met DAP’s unofficial historian, retired officer Kevin Quinn, who told us how the compound “started in 1942 with one little house.” He’d like to start renovations in the bathrooms (which still wore their original Mens and Ladies signs) to make them handicapped accessible. “We could even add a second story,” Quinn said. “This place is built strong, double walls and ceilings. It’s good to have a few contractor buddies.”
Having contractor pals, as well as a friend or two in state government, has aided the annual pushmobile derby, too. DAP purchased an unused property on U.S. 13 for a buck and contractors paved it slick as glassphalt. “This is our 63rd year,” said derby chairman John Kirkpatrick, and as far as he can remember, there’s been only one mishap—a collision with a fence. “We’re doing this for the kids,” Kirkpatrick said. “But the families and friends love it, too.”
DAP treasurer Jim McDonald, frontman for the evening, hoped the evening’s admission and raffles would yield the $20,000 it takes to run the derby each year. He stressed the importance of keeping the center secure by “keeping this a place where you don’t have to look over your shoulder.” Why shouldn’t the men and women who keep us safe have their own safe place?
Before we said our alohas, we snapped superstar couple Lauren Gagliardino, Miss Delaware 2009 swimsuit competition winner, and her boyfriend, UD quarterback Sean Hakes, who had this to say about the team’s record last year: “We’re gonna bump that up big time.”
With all the cheesesteaks, Miss Delawares, UD football stars and police—active and retired—the party really was Delaware’s finest. Ciao for now.