ST. MARYS – Let’s Back the Blue activities during the week of May 15-21 will include a blood drive, 5k run and blue lights and ribbons display 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 that since gaining nonprofit status in March 2020, Let’s Back The Blue activities have raised funds for police equipment needs. “In 2021, our organization distributed $53,500 in grants to local law enforcement departments,” she said.
Not all activities this week are fundraising. Some are meant to boost morale, she said.
“Since Sunday, May 15 is both National Peace Officers Day of Remembrance and National Police Week, we encourage everyone to display blue lights and blue ribbons outside of their businesses and of their homes,” she said. “We surveyed almost every chief of police in our area and they said blue lights were the biggest morale boost for officers.”
She said nearly 170 police officers have 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 down batons to stop a fleeing car.
On Wednesday, May 18, there will be a Red Cross Battle of the Badges blood drive which will pit law officers against firefighters to see who can collect the most donations. The competition takes place from noon to 6 p.m. at The United Methodist Church’s Beckwith Hall at 504 Glynwood Road, Wapakoneta. Reservations can be made by calling the Red Cross at 800-RED-CROSS (800-733-2767) or registering online at RedCrossBlood.org and entering the code backtheblue to book an appointment. Participants will receive a free t-shirt.
On Saturday, May 21, the Let’s Back the Blue 5K and Little Cop One Miler will take place at the Mill Park Shelter House at 120 E. High St., St. Marys.
Niemeyer said there are in-person and virtual registration options. Either option costs $30. The Little Cop 1 miller is $10. All proceeds will 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 a commemorative t-shirt, Neimeyer said. For the kids, the 1 Mile Little Cop Runners get their own police badge on arrival, making them an honorary cop for the weekend.
She said: “Police officers and sheriff’s deputies will round up the kids before the race and ‘swear them in’ as honorary cops for the weekend and uphold the standards of good law enforcement.”
Packet pick-up is at Mill Park Shelter House, 120 E. High St., St. St. Marys, either Friday, May 20, 5-6:30 p.m. or race morning, 7-8 p.m. hrs: 30 hrs.
Neimeyer said proceeds from the 2021 race that benefited the Auglaize County Law Enforcement Agency included scholarships for area police academies, body cameras, thermal imaging cameras , speed warning signs, radar units, training and dispatcher Bluetooth headsets
Neimeyer said: “Let’s go back to blue! Be part of something positive that will help make the work of those who put their lives on the line for us a little safer and more positive.