Back The Blue Idaho [Photos]
Hundreds of Idahoans attended the second annual Back the Blue Idaho at the Caldwell Night Rodeo Arena. The event featured appearances by Governor Brad Little and Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin.
Back Blue Idaho is a movement that hopes to grow into a national campaign. That will encourage, enable, and vocally stand up for our men and women in blue because we believe that law enforcement officers and their families are critical to the freedoms we cherish and the safety we enjoy.
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Back The Blue in Caldwell
The night began with a motorcycle procession to the event that was warmly received by the folks in Caldwell. The lieutenant governor led the audience in the pledge of allegiance and thanked the men, women, and their families for their service to Idaho.
Paul Butler returned as the master of ceremonies inspiring the crowd with professionalism and passion.Texas Governor Gregg Abbott spoke to the crowd via a video message endorsing the Back the Blue project.
An emotional Canyon County Sheriff, Kieran Donahue, explained how he wished that he could've taken the bullets for his men who were shot in the line of duty. Donahue praised his deputies, who faced mortal danger during a shootout. He introduced Nampa Police Office, Brad Childers.
Officer Childers was a member of the Canyon County team that reacted to the call for help in 2012. He described what it was like to be shot multiple times in the line of duty. He became very emotional in thanking his family for getting him through the night he almost died. You can read more about his career of bravery here.
Officer Childers was a member of the Canyon County team that reacted to the call for help in 2012. He described what it was like to be shot multiple times in the line of duty. He became very emotional in thanking his family for getting him through the night he almost died. You can read more about his career of bravery here. His speech was ended when he announced that he was creating a scholarship for the 10-year-old daughter of Kyle Batt.
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Batt was the suspect that shot Childers and Mike Roth during the shootout. Batt died in prison, but Childers asked the audience to help his daughter. Keynote Speaker Josh Vadell ended the night with a speech thanking everyone for their commitment to law enforcement. You can read his bio below.
On September 3, 2016, while on duty, Josh was shot in the head and critically injured while he and his partner interrupted an armed robbery in progress. After his near-fatal incident, he has undergone extensive physical and emotional therapy and has endured numerous surgeries for injuries sustained during the shooting. However, this is not where his story of resilience and survival begins.
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In his presentation, Josh shares riveting stories from his childhood, including personal trauma endured growing up and into his early adulthood. These events, and the lessons gleaned, transcend the law enforcement profession and serve as an inspiration to anyone regardless of occupation, gender, or socioeconomic status. Sharing his experience has become an integral part of his healing and recovery. His journey has also demonstrated the power of love, resilience, and the warrior spirit as key components to surviving critical incidents.
Josh and his wife Laura started a non-profit foundation called "The Josh Vadell Foundation," which they are very passionate about. The foundation's mission is to provide monetary and emotional support to families of officers critically injured in the line of duty.
A huge thanks to everyone who attended, sponsored, and supported this event. Click here for more information on how you can help make a difference.
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Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Ed Humphreys expressed his support in an editorial. You can read it below:
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Idaho backs the blue! Slogans like this are often tossed around to show support for law enforcement. After attending the Back the Blue Rally Friday night in Caldwell I was inspired and moved by the stories shared by our officers. Every Idahoan, and especially every elected public servant, must consider what “backing the blue” really looks like in action.
If we truly listen to law enforcement, then we’ll get the direction Idaho needs to continue embracing law and order. Idaho ranks 43 in the nation for violent crimes despite having a ratio of only 17 officers to every 10,000 people. We have some of the best and hardest working cops around. If you truly support these everyday working heroes, there are some important things our state is facing that you need to be aware of.
First, Idaho CANNOT legalize or decriminalize drugs in any way, shape, or form! You don’t get to say you back the blue but ignore them on this vital issue. Some folks are screaming there’s medicinal benefits to drugs and people should be free to get completely whacked out of their mind. No thank you. There can be ONE state in America that celebrates family values along with law and order.
Second, I called for a moratorium on refugee resettlement in Idaho back on August 10th because it’s wrong to put MORE work on the backs of our incredible officers. First-responders, teachers, and nurses can’t afford housing in our state, yet we are going to import hundreds of families and provide them with guaranteed taxpayer funded housing? Not to mention that a rapist refugee convicted in Idaho from 2010 was just brought BACK into the United States. We are a giving people, but we also need to know when giving can hurt the giver and the receiver. Backing the blue means no more refugees in Idaho until we can appropriately handle them.
Lastly, our law enforcement deserves more from us for putting it all on the line every day. It was heart-wrenching to hear the stories of lifelong friends lost while responding to a call. Officers carry a weight on their shoulders that the rest of us can’t even comprehend. Hearing them recount the stories of their suffering and loss instilled an even stronger sense in me that we must do so much more for them. Elected officials need to have serious discussions and take action to deliver more resources to law enforcement, including expanding prison capacity and offering tools to tackle corruption in government.
I’m calling on all Idahoans to seriously consider if you back the blue. If you do, then I hope to hear solidarity with officers on these issues. We can’t say we support them and ignore them. They are the ones who bear the ultimate price for our mistakes. God bless our great law enforcement officers; may we all open our ears and hearts to their message.