SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The borough’s men and women in blue now have new safety jackets thanks to donations made by residents and business owners during South Plainfield’s ‘Sea of Blue’ campaign.
Back in the summer of 2016, Georgeann Cochrane, owner of Mohn’s Flowers and Fancy Foods, joined in a ‘blue lives matter’ effort initiated by resident Brenda Gromek. Through the 'Sea of Blue' campaign, members of the community were encouraged to show support, respect, and appreciation for law enforcement by displaying blue bows on homes and businesses.
Over a few short weeks, Cochrane and her staff at the Plainfield Avenue shop volunteered their time and materials to make 2,200 bows out of bright blue ribbon. Rather than charge for the bows, Mohn’s set up a donation jar to benefit the South Plainfield Police Department and, in a few short weeks $3,026 was raised. The money was donated to the department in the fall of 2016 and, earlier this year, used by PBA Local 100 to purchase 48 traffic safety jackets for its officers.
“I am glad the money went toward the jackets and was used for something that will keep them safe,” said Cochrane.
The jackets, which are bright yellow and bear the word ‘Police’ in reflective lettering on the back, are durable and warm as well as wind and water resistant. Prior, most officers only had reflective vests to wear at an accident scene, construction site, or other outside patrol.
“The jackets make us visible from the road,” Police Officer Shane McCoid told TAPinto South Plainfield.
Officer Rene Marte added, “We are very appreciative of the donation. They help us every day. Sometimes, we can be standing outside for a long time and they help keep us safe, warm and dry.”
In addition to making the bows for residents and business owners – and exceeding her personal goal of raising $3,000 for the police department – Cochrane also worked to spread the initiative throughout the borough in time for 2016’s Labor Day festivities. While Mohn’s staff worked to make the bows, volunteers from the community, including members of the high school’s fall and winter cheer teams, went around town, tying them to the telephone and light poles along most of South Plainfield’s major roads.
"It’s great when businesses in our community reach out and connect, making the borough more like a family,” said Lauren Perry, a patrol officer with the department and the financial secretary for the PBA.
According to Cochrane, after receiving their jackets, several police officers stopped into her shop to thank her. “All I did was make the ribbons and I enjoyed doing it,” she said, adding, “The thanks belongs to the people of South Plainfield who supported this; they are the ones who donated the money.”
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