Scouting Troop Honors Roanoke’s Finest

American Heritage Girls Troop VA 9020.
American Heritage Girls Troop VA9020 at the Campbell Ave. Roanoke City Police Station.

These days media stories covering police-related violence abound; just flip on the T.V., or turn on NPR, or log-on to any social media account and you’re bound to hear about it.

On the other hand, hearing the opposite would be wonderful. Where are the stories about positive relationships between police departments and their communities? For the health of our communities and our nation, we desperately need our law enforcement officers and our citizens to work together, appreciating and supporting each other.

On the morning of Saturday, September 26th, American Heritage Girls Troop VA9020 decided to do something about the current negative state of affairs littering the national scene. The troop met for a special service project specifically designed to honor the Roanoke City Police Department.

That morning, thirty-one young ladies—along with many accompanying siblings and parents—joined together to create a “Blessing Bag” for every officer in this city—250 in all. The bags were filled with treats, handwritten cards, and a lot of encouragement.

The troop then personally delivered the bags downtown to the police station. Although most officers were busy on assignment, the department was able to send one officer to meet the girls and accept the bags. When the officer entered the lobby, the girls held a handmade banner declaring, “We love you!” which they had each signed.

Then, the office and the troop stood together to pray for our entire community. To everyone’s delight, the officer gave each participant a shiny police badge sticker, and the girls responded with a heartfelt shout of, “We love the Roanoke Police Department!”

As the families of American Heritage Girls Troop VA 9020 left the police station, they stood beside the Fallen Officer Memorial which stands as a testament to the Roanoke City Police Officers who sacrificed their lives for our community. As the troop considered the bronze statue, the reality of what it means to be a police officer—the sacrifice it requires and the burden it places on their families—became even more real.

A morning that began with a simple activity of filling bags with candy and childish drawings ended with a lifelong lesson of what it really means to serve and the respect due to those who do so. In this time of intense national turmoil, perhaps that important lesson should also become more real to us.

Sharene Duncombe