ST. MARYS – Activities for Let’s Back the Blue during the week of May 15-21 will include a blood drive, 5K run and a display of blue lights and ribbons that week. Coordinator Anne Neimeyer said these activities will not only let law enforcement know how much the public appreciates their service, but also raise funds for their equipment needs.
Neimeyer said since achieving a non-profit status in March 2020, Let’s Back The Blue activities raised money toward police equipment needs. “In 2021, our organization handed out $53,500 in grants to local law enforcement departments,” she said.
Not all of this week’s activities are destined to raise funding. Some are meant to boost morale, she said.
“Since Sunday, May 15, is both National Peace Officer Memorial Day and National Police Week, we are encouraging everyone to display blue lights and blue ribbons outside their businesses and homes,” she said. “We did a survey of almost all police chiefs in our area and they said the blue lights were the biggest morale boost for officers.”
She said almost 170 police officers died in the line of duty in 2021. She said their Facebook page will feature Bluffton police officer Dominic Francis, who was struck and killed while laying out stop sticks to stop a fleeing car.
On Wednesday, May 18, there will be Red Cross Battle of the Badges blood drive that pits law officers against firemen to see who can collect the most donations. The competition goes from noon to 6 p.m. at Beckwith Hall of the United Methodist Church at 504 Glynwood Road, Wapakoneta. Reservations can be made either by calling the Red Cross at 800-RED-CROSS (800-733-2767) or enrolling online at RedCrossBlood.org and entering the code backtheblue to schedule an appointment. Participants will receive a free T-shirt.
On Saturday, May 21, the Let’s Back the Blue 5 K and Little Cop One Miler will be held at the Mill Park Shelter House at 120 E. High St., St. Marys.
Niemeyer said there is an in-person and virtual sign-up options. Either option costs $30. The Little Cop 1 miler costs $10. All proceeds go to Back the Blue. The link to register is https://runsignup.com/Race/OH/StMarys/LetsBacktheBlue5KLittleCop1Miler.
Adult participants will receive the official event medal and commemorative T-shirt said Neimeyer. For the kids, the 1 Mile Little Cop Runners receive their very own police badge at the finish, making them an honorary cop for the weekend.
She said, “Police officers and sheriff’s deputies will gather the kids before the race and ‘Swear Them In’ as honorary cops for the weekend and upholding the standards of good law enforcement.”
Packet pick-up is at Mill Park Shelter House, 120 E. High St., St. St Marys, on either Friday, May 20, between 5-6:30 p.m. or on the morning of the race, between 7-8:30 a.m..
Neimeyer said 2021 Race proceeds that benefited Auglaize County law enforcement agency included scholarships to area police academies, body cameras, thermal imaging cameras, speed alert signs, radar units, training, and dispatcher bluetooth headsets
Said Neimeyer, “Let’s Back the Blue! Be part of something positive that will help make the job of those who put their lives on the line for us a little safer and more positive.”