If you attend enough law enforcement sponsored events, you begin to realize that there is a recurring theme: honoring the heroes we’ve lost and recognizing the ones still walking amongst us.
Having done my share of event planning, I can testify first hand that, regardless of what the event is, where it is, or what it is intended to celebrate, one of the first things checked off the list is, “Who can we honor?”. The event this past weekend in Baltimore was no exception.
On Saturday, the Baltimore Police Emerald Society hosted their “Blue Line Bash”. While an event on Saint Patrick’s Day weekend hosted by an Emerald Society isn’t really shocking, like any other police event, the reason for the gathering became the back-story.
The Baltimore Police Emerald Society is headed by Baltimore County Police Corporal/BBO member Eric Brennan , who was also the recent recipient of the Brothers Before Others Detective Steven McDonald Brotherhood and Benevolence Award.
Eric is the cousin and coworker of Baltimore County Police Officer Amy Sorrells Caprio , who was killed in the line of duty on May 21st, 2018. So, naturally, when it came time to host an event, honoring his family and a hero lost was a natural fit. Over 20 Brothers Before Others members, from as far as Florida and Cleveland, traveled to Baltimore in order to help make the evening memorable.
A big part of what Brothers Before Others does, by design, is ensure that we are a ‘face to face’ charity. When it comes to the work being done by the charity and our partners, delivery is as important as the care, love and benevolence that went into the facilitation.
BBO partner, Blue Line Bears , the nonprofit created by the teenage daughter of a police officer, has been hand making teddy bears using the uniform shirts of officers killed in the line of duty, having completed 454 to date. In their own words:
“Blue Line Bears will not only provide a lasting keepsake to help keep the officer’s memory alive, but will also help their family to see that there are caring individuals who respect and appreciate men and women in uniform.”
Similar to the work being done by Philadelphia Police Officer/Forensic Sketch Artist/BBO Partner Jonny Castro , these amazing hand made tributes are not always able to be hand delivered by the creator. This is where BBO comes in. Because we are a national charity, part of what we do is ensuring that the work being done by our partners is properly delivered, regardless of where in the country the recipient is located.
On Saturday, BBO Founder/President Michael Burke presented the Sorrells/Caprio family with the bears made, using Amy’s uniform/patches, in honor of their daughter, wife, sister and cousin.
Also unveiled that night was the amazing tribute donated by Retired Maryland State Trooper George Wooden and his team at BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising done using Amy’s police dress uniform. The shadow box was designed and created by Iconix .
There’s a saying that is used a lot in our circles and that is, “No one takes care of a police officer and their family quite like a police officer and their family”. Despite the tremendous amount of planning, work and stress that went into hosting an event that size, Eric managed to ensure the focus was right where it needed to be: honoring the ones we’ve lost.
Founded in 1996, the Police Emerald Society of Baltimore is a 501C(3) that gives its members the opportunity to do charitable work, both inside and outside of the law enforcement circle. Recognizing that running a non-profit charity is essentially being in a constant state of fundraising, coupled with the fact that you never go to someone’s house empty handed, BBO was happy to donate $1000.00 to the PES on behalf of our members.
Over the course of the last few months, BBO members and the Baltimore PES, along with the FOP Lodge 4, have teamed up to create a memorial for the daughter of Baltimore County Police Officer Brain Gaddis. Brian’s 5 year old daughter, Delaney , and her grandmother, Deborah, were both killed by a drunk driver while they walked on a sidewalk. Later this spring, there will be a memorial in their memory unveiled in Spring Lake Park located in Timonium, Maryland.
On behalf of the members of BBO, ‘Thank You’ to Eric and the members of Baltimore PES for, not only being a gracious host, but for continuing the act of benevolence for the simple sake of benevolence. At a time where division is rampant, both inside and outside of law enforcement, nights like the one experienced on Saturday are desperately needed and deserved!