GALLIPOLIS — With the deaths of a pair of responding Westerville officers last Saturday having rocked the Ohio law enforcement community, one Gallia woman has taken it upon herself to reach out to the crafters of her community in hopes of supporting the families of the fallen officers.
Brea Elliot, a Gallia Sheriff’s Office commissary clerk and wife of Gallia Deputy Jonathan Elliot, created a Facebook group called the Gallia County Thin Blue Line Crafting Community. The group was created Sunday and, as of Wednesday morning, amassed over 300 followers.
Brea says money made from the effort is going “directly to the Westerville families of the officers that were killed” and community members are using their crafting skills to create and sell Thin Blue Line inspired items through the group.
“Anything we’re doing is based around the Thin Blue Line,” said Brea. “The Thin Blue Line represents law enforcement who daily protect the nation. They’re courageous, compassionate, fearless, fair and benevolent. They’re ready to save and ready to serve and protect, even if it means giving their life for yours. The black background is a constant reminder of all the fallen officers and sacrifices, a reminder that we will never forget and a reminder that we are never left alone. The blue line is what police stand on and protect, the barrier between anarchy and civilized society.”
The symbol is commonly used to express support of police and those who have died in the line of duty.
“All of our crafts will have the Thin Blue Line in them,” said Brea. “We have people making hats and paracord bracelets, pins, wreaths. Anything you can think of really. We’ve got people from Florida contacting me wanting to help and people that can’t craft are donating money to go towards shipping costs.”
Several hats and scarves are already displayed throughout the group’s newsfeed.
“This really hit home when the two Westerville officers were tragically killed yesterday,” says Brea in a video on the community’s group page. “I really think that the hatred needs to stop, but for the families that are now grieving because their loved ones were taken from them so soon, I would like to create this group to do something personal, that creates meaning and is from the heart to be able to give back to this community and other communities like them.”
Brea said that as a mother of two boys and the wife of a deputy, she could not imagine having to tell her sons that their father could not come home, but acknowledged that is a reality law enforcement families have to contend with in order to serve the public’s welfare.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.