Spread the Lovey's Little Fighters Club was created to provide comfort to families who have lost a loved one in the line of duty. Our kindness rep who collectsg Lovey's for this cause shares her story.
"I was always brought up to respect law enforcement and thank them for what they do, but I never fully understood what that was until I worked for a police department. In 1999, I started working at the police department in Pewaukee. Through my dispatching career I worked in Elm Grove and Wauwatosa Police Departments as well. During those years I not only leaned what it was that our officers did out on the streets and what they truly put on the line but I became their family!
The thin blue line is no joke. This truly is a family, a brotherhood. When I sent an officer to a high stress call, I felt the fear of what was happening when they wouldn't answer the radio. I knew what was at stake. I knew the family behind the badge. I saw the faces of the their beautiful children and knew I had to do what I had to to get them home at the end of their shift! I became that family.
In 2004, I truly became family - what they say as blood and blue. I married my officer.
What happened next was never what I expected! I started to realize what it was like to be that family behind the badge. When he couldn't come home on time, I wondered why. What was going on? Was he okay?
I was still working when my husband was involved in an incident where a man shot himself on a traffic stop. It turned out that the man was wanted for killing a judge's family in Chicago. That was the first time I realized we were vulnerable as a family. Truly vulnerable. It scared me as a wife.
Then came March 20th, 2011. My husband and I attended our first law enforcement funeral. Officer Craig Birkholz was shot arriving on scene of a call. It was something that once again made me realize how vulnerable they really are.
When we arrived home from the funeral I sat there, with no idea what to say. My husband started getting ready for work and I felt like I couldn't even move. I couldn't breathe. I found it near impossible to let him walk out the door to go protect his city. I cringed every time id hear a siren go screaming by... I spent the day holding the phone and saying prayers.
I was pregnant.
All I could do was hope and pray my husband would be here to meet his baby girl when she arrived. The funeral made me realize just how much could be taken away from us just like that.
Since that day, I've had two babies and attended more police funerals than I'd like to admit. Each one more difficult than the one before.
Then my husbands department lost a detective. Not in the line of duty but she died giving birth to twins. Twins that will never know their momma. It broke my heart to think about it. At the same time our country lost several officers who also had children they left behind.
It was then that I knew I needed to do something! I teamed up with Baby Jack & Co. and Spread the Lovey to give back!
Throughout the year we collect police lovey donations and then each May we take all the donated loveys we currently have to Washington DC and my husband and I personally pass them out to survivor children at the candlelight vigil at the National Police Memorial Wall.
Other loveys are sent in care packages directly to the families of line of duty death survivors.
Sadly this year alone we've already lost 29 officers in the line of duty and 24 of them have children, almost all of them multiple children. Two of them are currently pregnant. Heartbreaking.
Little Fighter's Club was started to help bring a little bit of comfort to these kids. I know we can't help replace what they've lost but my hope is that we can bring them even a second of comfort and let them know that there is someone out there that cares.
My hope is that after the worst day in their lives, our care package can let them know that this thin blue line family is real and cares about them. At the same time it's our way to reach out to the surviving parent and let them know we're here for them too.