SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – South Plainfield may soon be seeing blue. In the wake of recent and tragic events throughout the country, residents of the borough are being encouraged to take part in the ‘Sea of Blue Ribbon Campaign’ and display blue ribbons on their homes, offices and stores to show support, respect and appreciation for law enforcement officers, their service and the sacrifices they make each day.
On Friday, July 29, South Plainfield resident Brenda Gromek took to Facebook, sharing a photo on her personal page of her friend’s Eastampton home adorned in blue ribbons to represent support for the police officers in her South Jersey town. “My girlfriend's husband is a state trooper and he was just down in Baton Rouge representing the New Jersey State Police at the funeral for those three officers who died. She posted a picture on Facebook the other day about how her town is putting up blue ribbons everywhere in support of their officers,” said Gromek.
Wanting to support her own friends and family members in law enforcement and thinking the ‘Sea of Blue Ribbon Campaign’ might be something other residents of South Plainfield might want to do, Gromek shared the photo in the private ‘You know you’re from SOUTH PLAINFIELD when…” group. Almost immediately, the post garnered the community’s attention with friends and fellow residents wanting to obtain bows for their own homes.
“Everyone, overwhelmingly, was in support,” said Gromek, adding, “It goes to show you the power of social media.”
At the suggestion of her friend in Eastampton Township, Gromek reached out to Mohn’s Flowers & Fancy Foods on Plainfield Avenue the following day, explaining the idea to owner Georgeanne Cochrane and inquiring about obtaining two blue ribbons to show support at her own house. Cochrane, whose husband William is a retired police officer, was immediately supportive of the idea.
“She explained to me what she wanted to do and I am more than happy to be a part of this,” said Cochrane. “We’ve been making them all weekend and they will be here for anyone who wants one.”
Mohn’s, which also provides yellow ribbons for those looking to support to support U.S. troops, will have a blue vase donation jar on its counter enabling residents looking to obtain a blue ribbon the ability to make a donation of their choice. All donations will be given to the South Plainfield Police Department.
“Anyone who wants them can make any donation they want. We do not want any money back for the bows; all the money will go to the police department,” said Cochrane, adding, “We just want to make them so everyone has a bow to put up to show their support for our police officers.”
The ribbons will be available in two different sizes; a smaller one that can be tied around a porch pole or column with pipe cleaners and a larger one that will fit around a tree. Cochrane said anyone seeking a size not currently available can place a special order.
“This is so very important. This world is going crazy right now and we need to unite, especially when it comes to the people who are protecting us …” Cochrane said, adding that it seems lately she cannot turn the television on without hearing about an officer getting killed. “We were taught as children to respect our police and that they are the ones to turn to if we need help. Today, it seems people don't realize that the police are the good guys, not the bad guys.”
Blue ribbons courtesy of Mohn’s will also – and appropriately – be available with a donation at the Aug. 2 National Night Out event, a community-building campaign designed to bring neighborhoods together with the men and women who protect them. Gromek will man a table promoting the ‘Sea of Blue Ribbon Campaign’ at the free, family-friendly event being held tomorrow from 6 to 9 p.m. in the parking lot behind the South Plainfield Municipal Building/Library.
“This is really a great idea. It shows support for our local police department and is something for our town to rally around,” said South Plainfield Councilman Ray Rusnak, an organizer of this year’s National Night Out who, after speaking to Gromek, reached out South Plainfield Police Chief James Parker and got the green light. “I hope we get a big turnout and that people come out, get a ribbon to tie around their tree and make a donation to support the local police department.”
Gromek said she hopes members of the community will join in, display a blue ribbon at their home, and show their support. “Not only is this important to me because of family members and friends who are police officers, it hopefully will bring divided communities together,” she said, adding, “Now, more than ever it seems that police officers in general are under public scrutiny and hanging these blue ribbons shows we stand behind the men and woman whose jobs, every day, are to serve and protect.”
Cochrane added, “They are here in each and every community to protect and to serve us and we, as a neighborhood and as a nation need to show out support. Their lives matter just as much as anyone else’s and all lives matter.”
For additional information about the ‘Sea of Blue Ribbon Campaign,’ visit https://www.facebook.com/Sea-Of-Blue-Ribbon-Campaign-367794776734736/. To contact Mohn’s Flowers & Fancy Foods, located at 2325 Plainfield Avenue, call (908)561-2808.
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