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Photo by David Colburn
Group members staple blue ribbons on telephone poles along Hartford’s main road.
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Photo by David Colburn
Members of the volunteer group Citizens for a Better Hartford at the Hartford Police Department on July 16, shortly after presenting goody bags to each of the police force’s officers. Participants included (front row, from left) Tara Hansen, Barb Hansen, Marsha Moore, Kathy Kearby, Kami Kearby, Jen Chappell and Chris Workman; and (back row, from left) Missy Shimchick, Darrell Workman, Danielle Workman, Karen Workman and Tina Rose.
HARTFORD — The color blue has evoked strong emotions in the last few weeks, as a group of residents show local police officials their appreciation.
“It was really unexpected,” said patrolman Bob Rhyne as he surveyed his custom-made goody bag at the Hartford police station. Rhyne, along with other members of Hartford’s police force, received bags containing fresh baked goods, gift cards, aftershave, meals donated by local businesses such as RJ’s Place and Casey’s General Store, and personalized coffee mugs from an enthusiastic group of volunteers on the morning of July 16.
The group — known officially as Citizens for a Better Hartford — arranged the bags as a gesture of gratitude and appreciation for a force that not only serves as local law enforcement, but as active members of the community and friends.
“Each officer is very involved and does a lot more than their job,” volunteer Darrell Workman said. “They know everybody and go out of their way to help, even when they’re off duty. You can’t ask for any better.”
“Hartford is small enough that everybody knows everybody, including their police force,” said Marsha Moore, volunteer and wife of Hartford police officer Dan Geil.
The department has four full-timers, three part-timers, and a few retired officers that occasionally pull shifts.
Volunteer Barb Hansen first proposed the concept on the group’s Facebook page.
“Hartford’s a little town, but it’s located between two major highways and there’s a lot going on,” she said.
With recent national tragedies and turmoil heavy on everyone’s minds, Hansen said she believes the gesture should be seen in a positive and proactive light.
“This is all about showing appreciation,” she said. “People tend to take the police for granted, and other towns have recently been doing things to show their support for police to help change that.”
Group members also stapled symbolic blue ribbons to telephone poles alongside the main road for the benefit of local and out-of-town passers-by.
“The blue ribbon represents the thin blue line that separates order and chaos,” Moore said. “We want everyone passing by to know that we not only support our local officers, but that we support all officers.”
The group hopes to set an example with each stapled ribbon and potentially inspire other communities to find their own means of saying thanks, for as one volunteer states, “Without police, there would be chaos.”
Residents also contributed to the Citizens For a Better Hartford cause. For more information on how to get involved, find their group on Facebook under Citizens For A Better Hartford.