The Citizens Support Group celebrated Law Enforcement Appreciation Day on Jan. 9, one of the many ways the organization highlights the hard work and dedication of law enforcement professionals.
The Citizens Support Group was formed in April of 2016 as a 501-3C non-profit organization and works to support Montgomery County’s police officers, but organizes support for other law enforcement officers as well.
Ken Hester is currently serving as the President of the Citizens Support Group. Fran Hester serves as Secretary. They enjoy the variety of ways the organization is able to be there to assist in events for the local officers throughout the year.
Ken Hester said they do things like, “being there for them through a life event, during training sessions by providing lunch, if there is a weather-related incident or a search and retrieval and they need help with water and support.”
Additional ways that the group may support officers are in having retirement celebrations. The retiring officer can decide if they prefer a formal reception or something more casual.
Also, if an officer is hospitalized then the citizens’ group provides them with a fruit basket. If married or have a child, they can also receive a gift. They are also there to offer support in very difficult times for an officer or their families such as the passing of a loved one, providing flowers and a sympathy card.
For Law Enforcement Appreciation Day this year on Jan. 9 Chick-Fil-A provided breakfast and citizen volunteers were there to deliver and give out the food.
If community members eat at Mission BBQ restaurant in Christiansburg and purchase a Hometown Hero cup, some of the proceeds will also go to local law enforcement funds.
“Sheriff Partin reached out to them. They offered to let us be one of the organizations when they do their cup effort,” Hester said.
There are many other events throughout the year to bring local police officers and law enforcement families together including a spaghetti dinner around Halloween and a sit-down dinner for Christmas where they have door prizes that are donated by local businesses or purchased through fundraising by the citizens group.
“Part of that evening is also the Employee of the Year is announced for each section of the sheriff’s office,” Fran Hester said.
Another big event that the citizens group does each year is producing the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office calendars. Calendars are produced locally by Southern Printing but designed and organized in-house by the volunteers. Very little cost is involved so that all money can go to the officers. They have around 140-160 businesses, depending on the size of advertisements they purchase. The calendars are free for the public and approximately 400 were distributed to local businesses and the public this year.
Not only are the citizens supportive of their local law enforcement but the first responders are supportive of each other, no matter where their jurisdiction.
Montgomery County Sherriff’s office recently shared an event that happened on Jan. 13 to raise funds for a local firefighter and EMT with the Radford Fire Department who is fighting cancer.
A benefit breakfast happened on Jan. 13, with proceeds going to Jeremy Compton, firefighter and EMT with Radford Fire Department. Compton has served the public for over 15 years but has been fighting cancer since 2021. Any donations and funds raised during Saturday’s event, as well as ongoing fundraising will go to Compton’s cancer treatment and recovery.
The Citizens Support Group also receives some direct donations from citizens. Businesses may offer a gift card or do a calendar advertisement. Some businesses may offer a gift “in kind” for an advertisement in the calendar.
“All of the sheriff’s office and police departments have good relationships, so it is good to work in an area where that is true,” Fran Hester said.
To find out more information about the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office – Citizens Support Group, interested parties may visit their Facebook page. This group does not only serve the sheriff and their deputies but also other law enforcement groups in the area.
Christiansburg Police Citizen Support Group has been active for many years as well and provides a lot of support to local law enforcement. Interested residents that wish to become involved in the Christiansburg group can access the membership application at www.christiansburg.org.