In a day and age when police officers have become the target of criticism and are being killed across the nation, approximately 50 people showed up Friday at the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office to show their support for law enforcement.
As part of a Facebook campaign started by Galax firefighter Travis Haynes called Still United 2015, numerous supporters visited police stations throughout the Twin Counties on Friday from 12-1:30 p.m. to show their support to police.
“I am proposing on September 11 that we as responsible Americans show that we are still united. We the people of all colors support our police and the laws for which they stand. We will not tolerate police officers being killed. Furthermore we will not be bullied, we will not be divided, and we will not be convinced that the United States of America is no longer united,” Haynes wrote on the Facebook page devoted to the Still United 2015 effort. “I am asking that in each city, community, county, town or precinct that at noon on the 11th of September, we gather at our local police stations across this country and we encircle them for an hour of silent demonstration to show our support and unity.”
Inspired by Haynes’ movement, Angie Webb organized the event in Hillsville at the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office. She said Haynes and others are hoping to see the observance expand regionally. It’s also being driven by the recent spate of officers who have been killed nationally.
“There’s a lot of people who care about them (officers),” said Webb. “A lot of people are behind them.”
She said the bond of supporters and families is “more than blood.” The event at the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office included a prayer vigil for the victims of September 11, 2001 and those who lost their lives in the days following the tragedy. A watermelon social was also held for participants as a way to show support to the officers.
Webb said officers’ families and those who support them are often viewed as a “silent majority” who don’t step forward enough to show their support. Carroll County Sheriff’s Office Chaplain Vernon Landreth prayed over the event, thanking the Lord for the men and women who serve in law enforcement, fire and EMS around the nation that save lives and protect lives every day. He also prayed for God to keep everyone who serves safe and to bring revival to the land. A moment of silence was then held to remember those who lost their lives on 9-11.
“Nine-Eleven was a really tough day. The firefighters have gotten a lot of support over the years, but we have neglected to thank our police,” said Terri Dunevant, junior vice president of the Grover King VFW Post 1115 Ladies Auxiliary. “Patriotism is really important to me. I want to help spread it and I am really happy to see how many people are willing to come out and support these officers.”
Cindy Diamond is the laboratory director at Twin County Regional Hospital in Galax. She said the lab works closely with police officers in the Twin Counties, so she wanted to show her support as a representative of the hospital.
“I wanted to show our support behind these fantastic men and their families because it’s important they know they have people behind them,” Diamond said. “Their job is to make peace and to hold peace and to manage it. And they put their lives at risk every day, on or off the clock, because it does not matter whether they are in uniform or not, they can still be targets. They risk their lives to protect us and we need to show them that they support them.”
Carroll County Sheriff J.B. Gardner said the outpouring of support Friday for the sheriff’s office was “spectacular.” “It warms your heart. It makes you feel good,” he said. “It makes you very proud to do the profession because there aren’t many days it’s a proud profession anymore. No matter how hard you try, there is always somebody critical of you. But I love it. I like the community support. I think that is a good thing.”
Allen Worrell can be reached at (276) 779-4062 or on Twitter@AWorrellTCN