For more than two decades, the City of El Dorado and Butler County have celebrated Christmas with Friends to thank inmates working in the community.
Christmas with Friends provides a luncheon for the 30 plus inmates who come to El Dorado every day from Winfield to work in the area.
On Wednesday, this year's luncheon was held at the El Dorado Civic Center. Central Kansas Prison Ministry (CKPM) has taken on the responsibility of Christmas with Friends to provide this service for El Dorado.
After the hamburgers were served, the inmates were thanked by several members of the community, including Ashley Rodel of El Dorado Main Street and El Dorado Correctional Facility warden James Heimgartner.
"The inmates that come up here do a lot for the community," said Heimgartner. "It is a unique system we have."
Heimgartner estimates inmate labor saves the State of Kansas several hundred thousand dollars a year.
"I appreciate the work that you guys do," he told the inmates in attendance. "Thank you and Merry Christmas."
One of the inmates also spoke. He thanked their bus driver and those who make the opportunity to work in the area possible.
After these comments, CKPM director Lynn McBride led the singing of several Christmas carols.