Last Thursday evening, officers of the Merrill Police Department received a generous donation of 12 thermal tote bags, courtesy of Wausau residents Dawn Dietsche and Lisa Marquardt, and Merrill resident Penny Callahan.
As Dietsche explains, the idea for the donation stemmed from the outpouring of support for local law enforcement in the wake of the March 22 shooting death of Everest Metro Police Detective Jason Weiland.
“Following Officer Weiland’s death, there was just an amazing outpouring of support from area communities. As Wausau residents, we have always enjoyed giving back to the community and we wanted to find a way to show our support for local law enforcement,”
The trio soon found what they were looking for in nylon, freeze-lock tote bags, customized to be blue in color to match the common law enforcement uniform and the word “hero” stenciled on each.
“I give all the credit to my team,” Dietsche said. “They really went the distance to help rally support from local businesses and they used their personal funds to purchase items such as water and snacks to fill the totes.”
Dietsche also credits Callahan for being instrumental in bringing the totes to Merrill officers; joining five other agencies of Kronenwetter Police Department, Wausau Police Department, Everest Metro Police Department, Rothschild Police Department and the Town of Ringle Fire Department. To date, the trio have reached 166 public safety personnel, including four K9 officers.
“I was completely shocked, surprised and honored not only by the bags themselves but by the sentiment they contained,” adds Merrill Police Chief Corey Bennett. “It is very heartwarming to know that as much as we watch out for the well-being of our citizens, we have citizens watching out for us too. Thank you very much to all the individuals, families and businesses who contributed to the project. It means more than you know!”
Dietsche, Marquardt and Callahan would like to thank the 40 individuals and businesses who made their effort possible.