Dear wonderful and amazing supporters,
I know I've been out of touch. We've been trying to figure out what to do with the money remaining. Thanks to the continued support from one "fan" we made enough to purchase one last set of plates. These plates went to a very special officer: The one who was originally dispatched to the run that ended in Perry's death. Perry switched him runs because he was closer to this one and that's just how Perry was, always helping his fellow officer. The other officer has children, and while Perry's death was tragic, it helps to think God chose him so the other officer could still be here with his children. Due to our crazy busy life these days, we weren't able to hand the plates to the officer. We tried to find a time, but in the end, decided it was better to let him get them sooner rather than later.
At this time, I have shut off the donations feature. We were, and still are, amazed, flabbergasted, and touched by the world's support. I plan to leave the page up so the boys can look back and remember what they accomplished. Heck, the maps with all the pins are still up on the wall! But, this will be the last post.
Again, we could never find the words to fully express our gratitude for your love, support, kind words, prayers, and the life long lessons you helped us teach our sons. We pray that God will continue to bless you all and ask that the next time you see a police officer, take a second stop and thank him/her for all they do to keep you safe. #weseeyou
Sunday marked 1 year since Perry's passing. I've been trying to come up with what to say to our supporters, but I'm drawing a blank. Perry was a special man. The mold was broken when he was made. On Sunday, we were honored to attend a dedication ceremony for his memorial. The Chaplin spoke of his sense of duty, his friendship, his bravery, and his compassion. When he asked if anyone in attendance had a story to share, I whispered to Andy, "None that can be shared in the presence of children." Those that worked with him know, Perry had a colorful vocabulary on the job. And telling stories without those words just wouldn't do him justice. That's how I will remember him: loud, humorous, truthful, and always ready with a story filled with those colorful words.
After the dedication, we were able to hand out all but one set of the plates from our recent order. These officers were pall bearers with Andy. This alone shows how special they were to Perry, as friends and co-workers. Each officer was grateful to receive the plates, as were their families. We have one more set to hand out from this order. I will share that story and pictures after we do.
Again, none of this would be possible without you. Thank you for your support, prayers, and kind words. Jacen remarked on Sunday, "It's almost been 1 year since Ben and I started our campaign. I never thought it would go so long!" The pride I heard in his voice for what he's done made all the work worth it.
Good evening, Supporters! We began handing out more plates last weekend when we visited our friend, Kenny. He worked with Perry for quite a few years, so we wanted to make sure he got a set. His wife just had their second son and he is going to be off work for a couple of weeks. We went to meet the new little one and took Kenny his plates. He and his wife, Katie, were extremely grateful. She told us she has been hounding him to get the plates for almost a year. She is relieved to know her husband is a little more protected now, especially with 2 little ones at home.
This Sunday marks 1 year since Perry was killed in the line of duty. It's still hard to believe he's gone. On Tuesday, IMPD is holding a special ceremony to honor him and placing a plaque near the spot he was killed. We will be there to support Lynn and family, blood and blue.
Thank you all once again for your support. If you haven't done so, and feel so inclined, place a blue light bulb in your outside lights this weekend in honor of Perry and all the fallen officers around the country. It's an easy way to show your support for police officers.
It's getting closer! We received the next set of plates last week. These are going to the pall bearers and close friends who worked with Perry but weren't working the same shift anymore. Andy got them logged with the department, so now we are planning a time to get them handed out. There won't be a big deal this time; just needing to coordinate many people's schedules so the boys can physically hand them out. Jacen is at Webelo Adventure Camp this week and is having a blast, which means we are hoping to get them handed out in the next week or so. Don't worry, there will be pictures! Thank you again for all of your support. We are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to continue to hand out the plates to other officers.
Hello, Supporters! National Police Week is among us. Andy and I were planning to go to DC to be with Lynn as Perry's name was official unveiled on the memorial. However, we weren't able to make it happen. It saddens me to not be there with Lynn, to miss the chance to honor Perry. But, then, I remember, my sons have taken care of that: Honoring Perry. In a bigger way than I ever could. I haven't had much to post to you lately. We decided to hold off on buying more plates until after tax season. We wanted to make sure we had done the first round correctly and didn't get dinged. We learned that having the boys physically hand them to each officer was the way to go. So, now we are in the process of trying to meet with the head of the IMPD Foundation (schedules are tight these days) to arrange how to do the next round with the boys physically handing them out again.
We've heard great things from the officers who have them. Most are wearing them daily, and those that aren't (because they've moved inside) have passed theirs on to other officers. We had some negative feedback in the beginning about the plates we chose and the expense. We said then that providing a lighter plate would be best. One of our good friends and former district partner of Perry's contacted us not too long ago asking how to get "our" plates. He had bought the cheaper plates when they were offered in August. In the 6 or so months he wore them, he developed major back pain and would have to lie down as soon as he got home. So, while they were cheaper, they were not better for the officers. We are proud of the choice Jacen made with the plates he chose.
We are still amazed and awestruck by the support Jacen received during his campaign. I've attached a couple of pictures:
1. Jacen's birthday party: Justine of Willing Hands Designs contacted me months ago about donating her time for Jacen's birthday as a thank you for what he has done for the officers. She did an amazing job and all the kids loved her. I have her info and she's on FB if you ever need a face painter.
2. In March, we met Austin St. John, the original red Power Ranger. Our boys LOVE the PR. St. John is a paramedic now and Jacen loved telling him about his project and how he's a hero, too.
3. In honor of Police Week, the boys and I joined the campaign #weseeyou and #hislifematters and took a picture of our hands with Andy's uniform.
Thank you again for your support and love and prayers.
Things have been crazy busy around here. The day after the State of the State address, I started a new job. I apologize for not posting about SOTS sooner. It was quite a night, a bigger deal than Andy or I expected. We met the first lady, the boys were given the "special food" not offered to the other guests: a plateful of Chic-Fil-A nuggets, we met Major General Umbarger who gave both boys a challenge coin (Ben's first!), and, well, if you haven't heard, the boys basically stole the show from Governor Pence. It was an amazing experience for all 4 of us. I'm attaching a few pictures from the night and will upload the newscast next. The next day, we got a call from our local NBC station wanting to interview both boys about stealing the show. I will upload that as well. Again, we can't say thank you enough for your support, be it in the form of money or sharing our story. Jacen wouldn't have reached his goal twice if not for you all. God Bless.
We got some exciting news today. Andy received the following email:
Last month Governor Pence had the honor of awarding your son Jacen at the Boy Scout Luncheon for his incredible efforts in raising over $19 k for IMPD bulletproof plates. The Governor was so moved by his story that he asked me to reach out to you all to invite you guys to the State of the State this coming Tuesday January 13th at the statehouse.
I mean.....WOW. Just WOW. Basketball practice will be skipped as we know what an honor it is to be invited to the State of the State. I'm just speechless....
We've received a couple of big donations lately that we are extremely grateful for. We are so close to $20K! When Jacen wanted to start this fundraiser, we never thought we'd make it to $10K, let alone $20K. I am still amazed by the support you have all given. With that said, I want to explain our reasoning behind choosing more expensive plates. When all this started, we had many people criticizing us for not making Jacen buy AR500 plates because they are cheaper and we could outfit more officers. Andy was on the street for 9 years, and he had many back aches just from his vest and duty belt. We knew adding extra weight would be difficult for the officers, so why would we add more than needed if we had options? Just this week, I heard from the wife of an officer and our friend that her husband has had the AR500 plates since July. He has worn them religiously every shift. However, they are leaving him in so much pain that when he gets home, all he can do is lay on the couch. He wants to play with his kids and be a help to his wife, but the pain is unbearable. Just as we did in July, we stand by and support Jacen's choice to go with lighter plates, even if they are more expensive. If the plates cause pain, officers won't wear them and the whole purpose is defeated. I leave you today with a picture of the boys with Lynn Renn from the night they handed out the plates to Perry's shift. We hope everyone had a joyous and blessed Christmas and New Year.
On MLK Jr. Day when I (Jacen) was 4, I wished that police officers won't get killed. It didn't come true. My dad's friends have been killed in the line of duty. His friend and partner for 9 years, Perry, got shot by a rifle and he died. We are raising money to buy bullet proof plates so that won't happen again. The vests they wear now won't stop a rifle. These add-on plates will stop many types of rifle rounds. Each plate cost approximately $225. Each police officer needs 2 plates (front and back). We want to raise money for IMPD (Indianapolis Metro Police Deptartment). We are hoping to raise enough money to buy a set of plates for each of the officers on Perry's shift. Please donate money to save officer's lives.