The crew at Newman’s BBQ, one of 15 teams making nearly 3000 slabs of ribs, didn’t get much sleep the night before Saturday’s fundraiser for two fallen Tampa Police officers.

Ricky Newman’s a pro in the world of competitive BBQ cooking, but he’s also a Polk County deputy who want to help the families of Jeff Kocab and Dave Curtis, two fellow officers that he never met.

“Nothing we can do that could take away any of the pain for that, could bring these guys back,” he explained, “but this is just our way that we can help them out with a future.”

Even before the event was supposed to start the slabs of ribs started going. Orders of meat were packed into the kitchen, wrapped in foil, and quickly sent out.

Nearly 70,000 dollars were raised between the rib sales and an silent auction. Organziers were still counting the proceeds from some of the other sales. The money will be split between both widows.

Volunteers, including many from ABC Action news, helped the long lines of customers getting not just ribs,but also t-shirts, and donated desserts.

In another room even more money poured in for the live auction. Only at one point in the day, was there a very somber moment.

Officer Scott Rehbein, a friend of both officers, and his horse D’artagnon paid tribute to the two men and their families, It wasn’t hard to see how some were moved

“It’ll tug on your strings. This affects you emotionally. It’s nice.” Rehbein said, “We try not to live everything that we went through, but this’ll make your eyes get watery.”

In the middle of this busy fundraiser, the two women who lost their husbands, yet gained the support of strangers, made their way through the crowd. Mrs. Curtis, with tears in her eyes, and Mrs. Kocab who’s a dean at the school today’s fundraiser was held at.

Both put on brave faces, just weeks after their husbands were gunned down

“They don’t get more than a step or two without someone stopping to talk to them and provide a word of support or encouragement.” said Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor.

Source: Elizabeth Dinh and Chad Cookler for ABC Action News.

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