Citizens ‘Back the Blue’ by providing officers with treats

Published 9:17 am Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Star Photo/Curtis Carden          Beautifully Designed's 'Back the Blue' event went over with success on Monday. Pictured, representatives of the group begin hauling over 160 goodie bags, which were distributed to the Elizabethton Police Department and Carter County Sheriff's Office.

Star Photo/Curtis Carden
Beautifully Designed’s ‘Back the Blue’ event went over with success on Monday. Pictured, representatives of the group begin hauling over 160 goodie bags, which were distributed to the Elizabethton Police Department and Carter County Sheriff’s Office.

Citizens across the United States had the chance to band together to show support for their local law enforcement.
Beautifully Designed, an online women’s ministry group spearheaded by Ashley Shepherd, hosted their inaugural ‘Back the Blue’ event – providing gifts to police officers across the country to show appreciation for their work.
Over 550 cities saw Beautifully Designed members work together to manufacture gift bags and other items to give as tokens of gratitude. In Tennessee, 86 cities answered the call to take part in the event, including the City of Elizabethton.
Jessica Salley, an Elizabethton native, is no stranger to the stress that local officers deal with day-to-day due to her family being in the profession. Salley, along with a handful of volunteers, were busy outside the First United Methodist Church building loading different items for delivery to local agencies.
Over 160 bags of treats were provided to the Carter County Sheriff’s Office and the Elizabethton Police Department.
“I got involved with helping because this is important to me,” Salley said as items were being loaded in vehicles. “My father is a policeman, my brother is a policeman and I wanted to give back to them and show that they are appreciated by more than just their family.”
The opportunity to take part in Monday’s event was hard to pass up, according to Riley Thompson.
“I have been a member of the Beautifully Designed club for awhile now,” she said. “These officers go out into the community each day to protect us, our kids, our schools … they protect everyone. Being an officer is a thankless job and they don’t get appreciated enough.
“I know we’ve had several officers from the sheriff’s department get injured this past year,” she continued. “Around the nation and across the world, officers are being injured. This is such a dangerous profession.”
Terra Dugger, who helped orchestrate the event locally, was unable to make it to town Monday, but praised her fellow Beautifully Designed members for their work.
As for the foot soldiers back home, Thompson added that everyone associated with the departments, from the secretaries, deserve the support.
“I just feel this is a way for us to give back and show our officers that they are appreciated,” she said. “Not just the officers, but the entire staffs and their families. When an officer goes to work, their families are sitting at home and it could be the last time they see their loved one.”
Even the youngsters got involved with Monday’s festivities.
“With everything you see on the news, we want to teach our children to not fear officers,” Thompson said. “They should be a respected part of our community.”
Thompson, Salley and Dugger each credited First United Methodist Church for their help with the endeavor. While serving as a drop off point for the bags, the church also assisted with monetary donations raised by the congregation.
PetSense also played a part in Monday’s event, donating treats for the K-9 officers and their canine companions as a way of saying thanks for their work.
The event was the brainchild of Ashley Shepherd, founder of Beautifully Designed, after being in the Dallas area during the funeral precession for the officers that lost their lives recently.
For more information on Beautifully Designed, Shepherd encourages individuals to visit their website,, to learn more about the group.

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