The Backing the Blue BBQ hosted by the Killdeer Area Ambulance on Sunday, June 28 celebrated area law enforcement and demonstrated that, at least for Western ND, there is an abundance of community support. Attendees of the event were eager to show their enthusiasm, overwhelming the officers with the amount of gratitude shown.
In attendance were members of the West Dunn Fire Department, who manned the grill, Dunn County Emergency Manager, Denise Brew, and various volunteers, community members and even a few who traveled to attend the event.
Christina Shockley, a volunteer at the event, traveled from Billings County with her family to contribute.
“I was part of looking for donations for the event,” Shockley said. “Those who sponsored were more than willing to help. For us, as an EMS family, it was important to show our support because law enforcement is a big part of EMS. We need Law Enforcement to protect our patients as well as us.”
Christina attended with her husband, Kyle Shockley of Chief of Billing County Fire and her son, Cody.
Gary Kuhn, Dunn County Sheriff, was also in attendance. He said he was happy to see all of the people who attended.
“I think the event turned out great and it shows there’s a lot of support for us and it makes us in law enforcement feel really part of the community as well," Kuhn said. "One thing I can say about North Dakota, and Dunn County in particular, is that the citizens do support law enforcement and that is one thing that really makes our job worthwhile.”
Kuhn has been working in law enforcement for 22 years and said his favorite thing about working for Dunn Center is that it provides him with opportunities to help his own community.
“I live here. It’s my community," he said. "I work to protect my friends and neighbors.”
Among other attendees were various sponsors who chose to donate to the event. One sponsor, Michelle Lynch, took a little extra time and a whole lot of sugar to hand-make desserts for the event. When asked why she put so much time and effort into making her donation she said first responders hold a sacred place in her heart.
“I worked for Killdeer Ambulance years ago and my parents still help out there," Lynch said. "My dad is the one who brought it up to me and I just had to do it. EMS has always been near and dear to me, my whole family practically worked with Killdeer Ambulance and when my son had RSV—they were there for me.”
The event was a heart-warming success and everyone who participated was welcomed with open arms. The food was free and families went home knowing they were well-protected by their friends and neighbors in law enforcement.
Denise Brew, Dunn County Emergency Manager, said it was an important event for the community in light of sentiments in other parts of the country.
“It’s important to come out and show our support with what’s going on in our country," she said. "We need to start locally because if nothing else, we can say right here, we need them.”