Submitted by Jeanie Summerville
Courtesy of the Boys & Girls Club
A new initiative, which Sgt. Mitch McKinney of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) calls a “movement,” was launched on Monday, March 20 with a morning press conference in the office of the Mayor Tom Henry.
The movement, called the Blue Bucket Brigade, is an awareness building program to “build bridges and open doors to awareness between law-enforcement and our youth,” according to Joe Jordan, president and CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne (BGCFW). Jordan added that the movement will also introduce “our youth to the human side of the uniform.”
The collaborative effort covers 16 counties in northeast Indiana and includes the efforts of Iric Headley and Fort Wayne United, along with the efforts of the FOP and the Boys and Girls Clubs throughout the region. The groups will collect monies and build awareness from mid-May until Labor Day through the use of blue buckets within businesses and high traffic retail locations. The monies, which are shared, will primarily support and expand existing programs. Among those programs are the Fort Wayne United L.IV.E. sessions and late night basketball league as well as efforts of the FOP through Cops and Kids and Forgotten Families.
Mayor Tom Henry called it “a collective effort to bring the community together” and added that the Blue Bucket Brigade will make a meaningful difference.
As part of the kick off, officers from all branches of law-enforcement including former Police Chief Gary Hamilton and current Police Chief Steve Reed of the Fort Wayne Police Department, visited the Boys and Girls Club and interacted with members by reading, studying, demonstrating vehicles and playing basketball and ping pong.
If you wish to contribute to the effort, you can do so by visiting www.bluebucketbrigade.org or by contacting either the Boys and Girls Club at (260) 744-0998 or the Fraternal Order of Police at (260) 437-8997.