LaGRANGE — Jenn Denney had a lot on her mind in the weeks following the police-involved shootings and deaths of eight officers in Dallas, Texas, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
She poured her heart out in a post on her Facebook page. Denney hoped people would not jump to conclusions about the incidents and realize not all law enforcement officers are “bad.” More importantly, she wanted people to continue to support police officers — and military soldiers — and treat them with respect for keeping the community safe.
Denney’s post was well-received, but she said it still did not feel like enough. On July 18, Denney created a second post on her Facebook page and asked folks to come together as a community to create gift baskets, cards and more for law enforcement officers in Troup County.
Her message came through loud and clear. Denney said the following day, folks stopped by the Clearview Chapel at 2101 S. Davis Road and dropped off drinks and snacks. People, especially children, stopped by the fellowship hall to design cards of encouragement for officers. Several local businesses — including Kimble’s Events by Design, Chick-fil-A, The Medicine Cabinet and Georgia Power — donated boxes of goodies and gift cards.
“We wanted to say thank you. All these businesses support you, even if it seems everyone else is against you,’” Denney explained.
On Thursday, a group of about 40 friends gathered at the church to make gift baskets and goody bags for law enforcement officers. Denney said they created 236 bags, enough for officers at the West Point Police Department, Hogansville Police Department, LaGrange Police Department and the Troup County Sheriff’s Office. Each goody bag also contained a Bible verse, she said.
The group delivered the items to each law enforcement agency on Friday.
Denney hopes the gift bags give local officers hope and encouragement.
“We’ve been friends with a couple who are law enforcement officers. It’s been hard seeing them leave for work knowing there are people in the community that didn’t support them,” she said. “We wanted them to know we support them.”
As a teacher in Troup County, Denney said her Facebook posts were also a good way to remind parents to not speak negatively about police officers to their children.
“We are teaching kids that police are good and that they are your friends,” she said.
Melanie Ruberti is a reporter with LaGrange Daily News. She may be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2156.