The first ‘Back the Blue Appreciation Day’ event will be held in Waxahachie, to support and stand with the police officers this Saturday, July 18.
This event was co-created by Ellis County resident and owner of the Point Event Center, David Whiteman.
"For me having family who are officers, I felt like there was a disproportionate amount of negativity–granted what happened to George Floyd was horrible, wrong. I get it but the Police forces across the country are operating at a very high level, very small margin of the error," said Whiteman. "And for the kind of negativity we’re seeing over one incident or the most recent incident, I felt was way out of proportion and I wanted to show support back and try to balance that at least in the local area."
The page grew from 800 to 5,000 followers in the span of three weeks, after many shares.
"The local community..was almost 100 percent positive. Everyone was wanting to volunteer. They’re sending in money to pay for officers’ meals," Whiteman shared.
This event will begin at 10 a.m. and end at 10 p.m.
Attendees should expect the Mayor of Midlothian and possibly the Mayor of Red Oak to give a speech. Additionally, the event will have six bands that will be providing live music.
For lunch and dinner, guests must pay $5 per meal. Officers and their family will be able to eat for free due to the sponsorship from ‘The Vault Smokehouse’ in Waxahachie.
"I found it really striking how quickly and easily sponsors came on board. We have all of the meals for the officers and their families paid for by sponsorships. And those companies understand that when the community supports us we can support the community..and back and forth," Whitefield exclaimed.
Officers from all over Ellis County and in places like Glenn Heights, Desoto and Ovilla were invited. "The furthest officers we know of are coming from Danger Field, Texas which is two and a half hours away," Whitefield shared.
"Inside the barn we will also have our wall of gratitude. Which is where we have letters coming in from across the country, expressing gratitude to law enforcement in general. And that’s gonna be about a 70 ft. wall, covered in cards and letters," Whitefield said.
Additionally, there will be community outreach vehicles, as some officers will be educating the public and giving insight on what they do.
Community members that plan on attending should RSVP through the website.
The venue will only be able to hold 225 people and outdoors about 600 people are allowed with the mandated social distancing recommendation.
Since Monday afternoon, 268 people have RSVP’d, not including the officers and their families.