I apologize in advance for the novel. If you don't want to read it, you can scroll down to the bottom to access the freebie associated with this post.
My heart is heavy this week.... here in the state of Utah, 2016 is coming to an end the same way it began: with the death of a police officer. Both deaths have touched me personally and I've been left wondering "why?" all week long.
On a cold Sunday morning in January, I awoke to an email from my mom - telling me a police officer had been shot, and she thought it was her neighbor. His wife had been at church but was pulled out and never came back - and the news channels were reporting that two cops had been shot. Minutes turned to hours while we waited for news... "critical condition" quickly changed to "he has passed"... I didn't want to believe it. Here was a man who had beat cancer TWICE, losing his life to a single bullet in the line of duty. Officer Doug Barney lived two blocks from me, and only one block from my parents... and though I never met him, I felt an immense amount of gratitude for his service to our community. Officer Barney worked in the area where one of my schools is at, so the students made cards for his family. I was able to deliver these cards to his wife and children, and I felt like I had done something. Although small, I was able to show my gratitude.
Fast forward to this Sunday - thanks to daylight savings, I was up bright and early... I saw a news report online saying a police officer from the West Valley PD had been killed overnight. I don't know why, but my mind immediately turned to an officer named Cody, who worked in my neighborhood. I had the opportunity to meet him this summer, and remembered him talking about how he preferred working nights, because that was when the "real" police work happened. Anyway, it was only 7:00, and I knew it would be a while before anything was announced on the news, so I tried to go back to sleep - unfortunately, sleep wasn't coming. I turned on my tv to watch the press conference and burst into tears as the Captain announced the name of the fallen officer - Officer Cody Brotherson. Officer Brotherson was born and raised here, and chose to serve his community. He LOVED his job. He was so excited to become a police officer. The rest of the day is a blur. I pulled myself together and got ready for church, still not wanting to believe that this was happening.
Monday morning, the principal suggested to the teachers that the students make cards for the family and the police department. Times like this, it's hard for me -- I love my job, but I don't have a class to call my own. I still wanted to contribute - and knew how I could help. I made stationary and coloring pages for the students at my school. Having been in the classroom for 10 years, I know that I would be more inclined to do something like this if I had access to something that was already made. These pages are nothing fancy, but I hope others can use them as well. I have uploaded these as a freebie in my TPT store. All I ask is that you take some time to have your kids make a thank you card for your local police officers. Don't wait for another fallen officer - say thank you now! Let the men and women who serve and protect us know that they are appreciated.
Tonight I am headed to a candlelight vigil for Officer Brotherson. What I wouldn't give to see him and shake his hand, and thank him once more, for making our community a better place. Thank you, Cody, for your service.
Click on the picture below to access the freebie: