Couple volunteers 18 years cooking at high school concession stand

The Askews were thanked by the Polk County community for their years of hard work and dedication. (Image: WTVC)

A Polk County couple is throwing in the towel, retiring after nearly two decades of volunteering at the Polk County High School concession stand.

Their hard work with the Gridiron Club has raised thousands of dollars for the football and basketball teams.

In this week's Pay It Forward, Jessica Harthorn surprises them inside the Wildcat Cafe.

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Peanut and Blanche Askew are well known in Polk County for their famous loaded baked potatoes and Wildcat pig dogs.

Peanut covered the drinks and Blanche handled the food.

Now, after volunteering for 18 years they say it's time to turn in the keys to the Wildcat Cafe.

The Askews' fingerprints are all over the Larry G. Davis Football Complex.

From the food tables, to the yard lines, even the walls of the Wildcat Cafe.

That's where football parent Mechel Andring met Peanut and Blanche after she signed up to help.

"When you hear them touch down out there, they will all yell in here, touchdown! They are really friendly. They show you how to do everything and make you feel you fit in," said Mechel.

The Askews have many layers, just like these onions.

Peanut would travel to a farm in Georgia and pick up hundreds of pounds of onions so players could sell them to the community.

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Blanche made dozens of homemade desserts for families at football banquets, they even fixed popcorn machines.

The money raised from concessions paid for football helmets, sound systems, practice equipment , field maintenance and new jerseys.

Varsity Quarterback Nate Waters says he appreciates their dedication and is sad to see them retire.

"Friday nights, game nights, I'd always come down here and see them. They are going to be missed," said Nate.

Missed, but not forgotten.

The yearbook crew with their cameras in tow met us at the Wildcat Cafe, along with parents, football players and Polk County coaches, all waiting to see the Askews' reaction as they walked through the door for the last time.

"What in the world?" said Peanut.

"The Polk County parents would like to thank you guys. On behalf of Newschannel 9 and the McMahan Law Firm, we would like to give you $500. Hold your hand out. 1, 2 3, 4, $500. We would like to thank you for all the thankless work you two do in the concession stand," surprised Mechel.

After Peanut and Blanche gathered for a group photo they told us what they'll miss the most.

"The people and kids. I'll be out of town and the kids will see me and say, "Hey, that's the concession stand lady. No one knows my name," joked Blanche.

But name recognition was never what they were looking for, only a boost in Wildcat pride.

"If you get in and do stuff for the community, it helps you open up and become confident and it will change your life," said Peanut.

Do you know someone who deserves $500 cash for helping others? Nominate them here!

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