As any visitor to this site undoubtedly knows, Cobb County lost two heroes on September 8th, 2o22, who were killed in the line of duty. We join the many individuals and organizations who are mourning the deaths of Deputy Jonathan Koleski and Deputy Marshall Ervin. These men answered the call of duty and paid for it with their lives in what can best be described as a senseless tragedy.
At the same time, we are gratified by the outpouring of support from not only our local community, but others throughout the Metro Atlanta area and beyond. It is our sincere hope that the sacrifice of these two officers serves as a reminder, if one is needed, of what each and every law enforcement officer risks every time they go to work to keep us safe and secure in our own lives.
We wish to express our appreciation to Chik-fil-A (Cobb Parkway-Acworth, Barrett Parkway- Kennesaw, and East Cobb), Zaxby's (S, Marietta Parkway), the Marietta Diner, and Publix grocery stores (Dallas Highway and Jiles Rd - Kennesaw) for providing much of the food that was served to the officers, family members, and other mourners. We also want to thank our own supporters whose contributions of money and time allow Blue Thanksgiving to supplement the in-kind donations of these and other generous sponsors. We could not do what we do without the support of the community at large.
Deputy Marshal Ervin and Deputy Jonathan Koleski, End of watch: September 8, 2022.
As the month of August draws to a close and we see the approach of Labor Day weekend upon us, we are reminded that within just a few shorts weeks we will be officially into the holiday season! And that means BTI will once again be preparing to deliver hot Thanksgiving Day meals to officers on duty Thanksgiving Day. As we all know, this year has been a challenge to many financially. It seems that prices are higher on things we have taken for granted over the years past and or have become near impossible to even find. Feeding these officers on Thanksgiving Day will cost more this year than ever before. We are relying heavily on the support of donors and businesses who wish to sponsor our Thanksgiving Day campaign. If you would like to know more about how you can help with a donation, a sponsorship or even volunteering, please visit our "Join Us" page or drop us a message to email@example.com. Tax deductible donations can be made with a credit card right here on our website if you will go to the "donate" page! We thank everyone for all the years of continued support and we ask that the community continue to pray for our officers and deputies, and the next time you see one of them, tell them "Thank you!". And now, let our family at BTI be the first to wish your family a very happy holiday season!
We are proud of the board members we have been blessed to have representing Blue Thanksgiving, Inc., and when something wonderful happens we couldn't be happier!
This month we were honored to welcome a new Treasurer to our Executive Board. Chris Lydle comes to us as a retired business owner who spent the majority of his adult life in the camera and photography industry. Chris and his wife Thelma retired to Marietta in 2019 and quickly became involved in the community. Chris and Thelma enjoy world cruising and when home, spending time with their children and grandchildren. We welcome Chris and are grateful to have him on our team.
We wish to congratulate board member, Chief Tim Cox on his retirement from the Cobb County Police Department, He and his wife Jenny, who also serves on our board of directors, enjoy traveling, spending time with family, and doing for the officers with whom they continue to have a special bond.
Finally, we are thrilled to congratulate fellow board member, Steve Kucynda on his promotion to Deputy Chief with the Cobb County Police Department. This is a well earned promotion and we couldn't be happier for him, Jenny and their family.
Please join us in welcoming Chris and congratulating Chief Cox and Deputy Chief Kucynda the next time you see them!
Blue Thanksgiving's Law Enforcement Appreciation Cookout in May was a great success with approximately 75 officers from multiple agencies and precincts in Cobb County stopping by to grab lunch at Cobb PD precinct one. Our board of directors and volunteers braved the morning rain to man the grill and prepare to serve our officers. Our team set up, and served food including grilled burgers, brats and hot dogs, and greeted officers! The amazing folks over at Publix located on Cobb Parkway and Jiles Road in Kennesaw, made donations of burgers and dogs, buns and desserts to help feed the many who came. Before officers began arriving, the rain moved on and a wonderful time was had by all! Many thanks to everyone who came out to help, and to the officers who joined us for lunch and some networking with their brothers and sisters in blue.
We're already planning for our next cook out event!
This year marked our eighth annual Thanksgiving day meal deliveries, and once again, volunteers and supporters made this happen for our officers. This year we sent out over 360 meals to officers working on Thanksgiving day and the volunteers making those deliveries. Officers on duty during the day received hot meals of turkey, dressing and gravy, sweet potato soufflé, green beans, salads and more. Officers that worked the later shifts came in to find trays of turkey, ham and assorted cheeses awaiting them along with chips, salads, desserts and more. The wonderful folks at The Holy Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church provided the space to us this year for staging dry goods, and supplies, while Paul's Pot Pies in Kennesaw provided the commercial kitchen space where we did some of the prep work. "Come-n-Get It" was busy cooking and packaging meals in the huge commercial kitchen at the Greek Orthodox Church and volunteers arrived throughout the day on Thanksgiving to load up everything needed for assigned precincts. This year was bigger and more organized than any year prior. We would like to thank the nearly 30 volunteers that came out and worked on this holiday to make the day a little nicer for officers on duty. We would also like to thank all the supporters who gave financially to make this happen. Without you all, this could not happen.
As Christmas approaches, we ask that you keep the men and women in law enforcement who serve our community in your thoughts and prayers. While preparing for joyous holiday celebrations with your friends and family, it’s important to stop and reflect on the joys and blessings in your own life, while also recalling those who are not as fortunate. We invite you to join with us in supporting four local law enforcement families who have each had a very difficult year. Between them, these Cobb County law enforcement officers, two of whom have children between 3 months and 6 years of age, have endured life-threatening illnesses, medical procedures, multiple surgeries, cancer treatments and more. They have suffered time away from work, loss of income, and enormous medical bills, all while struggling to support their families.
Let's Go to the Movies!
What do our officers do when they're not working the streets? The same things the rest of us do! They wash their cars, play with their kids, BBQ with their friends, watch their favorite teams play ball, and all the things the rest of us do! Once in a while we like to offer up an opportunity for these men and women to go out and enjoy some time with their families at no cost to them. In April, we teamed up with Piedmont Church and provided the men and women of law enforcement in Cobb the opportunity to get out and enjoy a movie and concessions with their families. We reserved a theater at the NCG Acworth and gave away free tickets to come see "Godzilla vs Kong". Then in June, thanks to the support of the Cobb EMC Community Foundation, we were able to provide an event we aptly named "Blue Under the Moon". A large screen movie night at the Cobb Public Safety Village where families of law enforcement were able to watch from their cars, or set up their own space in the parking lot with chairs and blankets. We showed the Disney Pixar movie "Onward" and set up an awesome concessions stand complete with grilled burgers, hot dogs, chips and drinks, popcorn, snacks and even a Kona Ice truck. Publix on Cobb Parkway and Jiles Road in Kennesaw provided the burgers and dogs and even brought out a number of volunteers to help pull this event together!
We'd like to offer our heartfelt "thanks" to Piedmont Church in Marietta and their "Love Does" program, the folks at Publix on Cobb Parkway in Kennesaw, and the Cobb EMC Community Foundation for their continued support. Without these sponsors, we wouldn't be able to do all the things we do to support our officers.
It is always a thrill when a club, church, school or group of citizens ask about partnering with us on a project. We love working with others to express support to our law enforcement officers through joint projects and welcome the opportunity at any time throughout the year. In February 2021, the St Catherine of Siena Catholic School contacted us about how they might express their appreciation and support to the local police departments in their district. Students worked to create cards and other artwork that was delivered to the Cobb County Police precinct 1 and Kennesaw PD. We were honored to be a part.
Never before has this country ever known anything like what we are facing with the Covid-19 world-wide pandemic. While citizens were ordered to shelter in place all across the nation, our first responders continued their work, risking not only their own health but that of the families and loved ones they return home to each night. Firefighters/EMS, police officers, deputies, and 911 call center operators continue to serve and protect their communities in spite of the dangers. When PPE (personal protective equipment) such as face masks and hand sanitizer became harder to acquire and shortages began to take place, we managed to find resources through which to purchase and have been able to distribute nearly 5,000 masks and 1100 bottles of hand sanitizer. To show support for these heroes, we have been providing meals and will soon reach 1,000 meals delivered, with many more still to go. Thanks to donations received, we have been able to do these things, and we pray that the community will continue to support our first responders by continuing to fund our work. Many thanks to the men and women who have been working tirelessly to help protect others, and thank you to our donors for making our work possible. We'd also like to extend a big "thank you" to the local owned restaurants who have been preparing and in many cases, delivering these meals.