On Monday morning, as I was drinking my cup of coffee, I was reading through my social media and one specific post caused me to pause. It was a picture of an angel, slumped over, kneeling in prayer with the weight of the world on the angel’s shoulders. The thin blue line of our law enforcement officers was all that kept this angel from crumbling.
The post read: Deputy Kert Appelhans, End of Watch: May 16, 2022. Wood County Sheriff's Office. Rest in peace, you will always be in our hearts.
It was a tough post to see as we started the celebration of National Police Week. My heart was immediately saddened and my mind went to the Appelhans’ family.
Kert’s brother and father also served in our local communities. Protecting our rights and freedoms while patrolling the rural roads of Wood County. The Appelhans, like all law enforcement officers, took a sacred oath to protect and defend. To serve a cause greater then themselves.
Law enforcement officers all understand the inherent dangers of their chosen profession, yet continue to serve. They put on the uniform, duty belt and hop into their patrol vehicle prepared to take on the unknown.
This courage and sacrifice is an investment into our communities that we should never forget. This is the reason for the establishment of National Police Week.
Their selfless dedication to their communities has led me to too many memorial services for law enforcement officers where I have heard the volley of the rifles, playing of the bagpipes and seen tears wiped away from the eyes of family and friends.
So I challenge all of us not to allow our differences to divide us, but allow those differences to unite us. I encourage the people of Ohio to reflect and give thanks to law enforcement officers by engaging in dialogue with those who serve in their local communities and it is through this communication that we can honor the sacrifice of our law enforcement officers.
To those that wear the shield, badge or star, this week is about you. We honor the courage that you have shown as you patrol our streets, walk our neighborhoods and respond to calls for service, all for one simple cause, to keep us safe. Your sacrifices do not go unnoticed and the friends that you have lost in the line of duty will not be forgotten. May God keep you safe.