Letter from Officer Will McGary Memorial Foundation
Mr. Dodd, sir,
I am sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you. I received your note enclosed in the box of Shields of Strength necklaces. I would be honored to share what they mean to me and what I hope they will mean to those to whom we distribute them.
First, please, let me thank YOU for your service to our country. I saw from your signature line that you are a retired US Army Colonel. I am proud to be affiliated with you, sir. If there was anything I ever wanted to do, it was to serve my country. I never got the opportunity to do so, but I am grateful to every one of you who did.
Now about the Shields of Strength. I volunteer for the Officer Will McGary Memorial Foundation which was established in 2013 after the death of 26 year old Officer Will McGary while in the line of duty. Will’s mother is my best friend. I became very actively involved in the Foundation in early 2015.
This past May, I accompanied the McGary family to Washington, D.C. to the annual fallen law enforcement officer’s candlelight vigil and visited the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall where we saw Will’s name inscribed for all of eternity along with the other brave officers who gave their lives. It was emotionally overwhelming and touching.
We were registering for C.O.P.S. events that second day we were there when I was handed a thin blue line necklace. I have an instant attraction to anything bearing the American flag, so I was immediately drawn to the necklace. So many things about it grabbed my attention that I stood there for some time looking it over. First of all, it was a dog tag necklace. This, along with the flag, immediately paid homage, in my mind, to our US veteran heroes. The addition of the thin blue line in the flag reminded me that our law enforcement officers are all that stand between good people and the whims of a lawless society. Anyone stepping into the role of law enforcement officer is truly placing himself in harm’s way in this present world and that entitles him/her to great respect from the rest of us. Perhaps the most emotional part of this gift, to me, was when I turned it over and saw that beautiful verse, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” My heart was truly touched by this. Amidst all the loss, the grieving families I was surrounded by, the pain I was bearing with my dearest friend of the loss of her only son, it was like a quiet reminder from heaven that Will died keeping the peace in the greatest country in the world. He was doing what he was passionate about doing when he was killed. He was protecting his fellow man and his fellow officers surrounding the scene of an accident when he was struck by an impaired driver. If it had not been Will that had been struck that night, it is unknown how many other lives may have been lost instead, and if I know Will, he would not have tolerated that.
Will was an especially blessed peacemaker, because he chose organ donation during his lifetime, and we know of three lives who were changed and saved because of this choice. Two teenage girls received his kidneys, and a middle-aged man received his heart. They attend our events as they are able. So you see that this blessed peacemaker never stopped giving, even in death. What a legacy for a 26 year old man! We chose to turn this tragedy into a triumph by establishing the Officer Will McGary Memorial Foundation. We support law enforcement officers and the youth of our community. I hope you’ll visit our website to find out more about Will and about us.
As for those we intend to distribute the Shields of Strength to, it my hope that, whatever their situations, they will be reminded of the same things I was. I know, as patrons of a car show fundraiser event, it is likely that many of them have never been touched by tragedy such as this. I hope that, after viewing the slideshow we will have displayed, they will be solemnly reminded to respect our law enforcement officers and to honor those that have given their lives to the cause of peacekeeping. I hope they will realize that God blessed them by allowing them to be citizens of this country of ours. I pray God will use the scripture on the necklace to speak to their hearts, for we know His Word never returns to Him void, but it accomplishes that which he sends it to do. I believe this.
I gave my necklace to my 16-year-old son when I returned from D.C. and he was moved by it. These necklaces are in every way the kind of item with which we wish to represent our Foundation. They speak of God, honor, and American heroes and that, to me, about sums it up.
I thank you very much for your very generous gift, and I hope that in days to come, we can get to the place that we can afford to regularly purchase these from you as part of our giveaways. I saw a variety of styles on your website that I loved as well and I hope the time will come that we are able to place a nice, big order. Until then, I have prayed that God will bless the work of your hands.
I am attaching a couple photos at the Wall in D.C.
I will send photos of our event after it takes place in September. God bless you.
In His hands,