Project Blue Light Honors Fallen Officers
SIOUX FALLS, S.D.- In 1989, a woman placed a blue light in her window during the holiday season to honor her son-in-law. He was a Philadelphia police officer, who was killed in the line of duty. Now-a-days, every holiday season nationwide, fallen members of law enforcement are remembered through “Project Blue Light.” On Wednesday night, South Dakotans paid tribute to their own with a special ceremony in Sioux Falls.
“It [Law Enforcement] is a dangerous job. We have no idea what could happen today or the next day, but we just obviously treat each day to the best of our ability, best of our training, knowing we are not doing it for ourselves. We are doing it for the community,” said Officer Cody Schulz with the Sioux Falls Police Department.
Those who made the ultimate sacrifice were honored by community members. Over 60 names of officers who have died in the line of duty in South Dakota, dating all the way back to 1884, were read aloud to never be forgotten.
“It’s just bringing their memory alive during the holiday season because you know how it is. So often during the holiday season things are busy, things get forgotten in the rush of things,” said Schulz.
Julie Van Luvanee, the Mayor of Harrisburg, brought Project Blue Light to South Dakota nine years ago. When she lived in Pittsburgh she learned about the project and felt it was needed here.
“I think it’s important that we all stop to think about after the headlines fade, there are families, there are children, parents that are still left behind,” said Mayor Van Luvanee.
She says the event not only honors the fallen, but shows support to those families and officers who’ve lost loved ones.
Anna Calhoon attends the event every year and uses it as a platform to honor her uncle, who was a Deputy Sheriff in Turner County.
“My uncle Chad, he was a police officer and was killed in the line of duty in 2009 and so it’s really important for me to keep his memory alive,” said Calhoon.
Even after this event is over, blue lights will shine at the Empire Mall all holiday season, so their service and sacrifice will continue to be remembered.
Project Blue Light is not just an event, but also an awareness campaign. Organizers ask that people put blue lights on their tree this holiday season to remember fallen officers.