MOVING FORWARD: Law enforcement leaders thank community for support
March 22 is a day that has forever changed our community. It’s especially impacted the first responders who were there that day, but the Wausau and Everest Metro Police Chiefs, along with the Marathon County Sheriff say the support they received from the community that began that day and still continues has helped their healing process.
NewsChannel 7 took a look at all the ways the community has gone above and beyond to say “thank you,” and reach out to law enforcement.
For the men and women in the first responder community, not a day goes by where they don’t think about fallen Everest Metro Police Detective Jason Weiland and the other three victims of the March 22 shooting.
"The support that we have had, and still continue to have to this day is just amazing,” Everest Metro Police Chief Clay Schulz said.
Even though it’s been nearly a year, he says the community goes out of their way to show their appreciation.
"I can't remember a time in my career where I've been thanked so many times just by being in public. Whether I'm at a gas station or restaurant in uniform," Chief Schulz said.
The thanks comes in many forms from large donations of food from local businesses to handwritten thank you notes to a family that made a fresh batch of cookies and brought them over to the department.
"The community is unbelievable. I'm immensely proud to live here,” Wausau Police Chief Ben Bliven said, "We've got nothing but gratitude for this community. This is a fabulous community that steps up for us,” Marathon County Sheriff Scott Parks said.
The love being shared comes from little one's hearts too, including Brady Duke, a little boy who donated his Wii to the Wausau Police Department to help them de-stress and maybe even share a few smiles after the shootings.
"I knew I had to do something because their police brother died,” Duke said. He also came back in February to give the department two homemade bluebird houses. Chief Bliven says it’s these acts of kindness that make protecting and serving even more worthwhile.
"We want to help our community be a better place, and to be rewarded in that way by this outpouring of support, and really love for our profession, is very rewarding, and makes me want to continue to work hard for our community,” Chief Bliven said.
It’s not just the support for officers, but support for the entire community that suffered a loss on March 22 that’s making a difference.
"We talked about the support we saw as law enforcement officers, but our entire community needs support at any given time." "In the past year I think we've really seen how that impacts people and seeing that support and concern and compassion and support for one another really makes our community better,” Chief Bliven said.
"It's unfortunate that it takes a tragedy to have this kind of come to the surface, but it does help our community and our profession heal a little bit, knowing that we have the support of those around us,” Chief Schulz said.
This support is something that Chief Bliven, Chief Schulz and Sheriff Parks all hope continues for many years to come.