“One Family. One Vision. One Badge”
This is the motto of the nonprofit Wives Behind the Badge, whose mission seeks to provide emotional and financial support to the families and members serving law enforcement throughout the nation.
According to the organization’s website, Rose Winick, wife of a police sergeant in Southern California, started an online forum for other police wives, hoping to seek advice and support from those who would best understand.
The forum, started in 2006, was said to have quickly grown to over 200 members across the country, as well as in Canada, England and Australia. Over the years, forum members in their local communities started receiving requests from police and law enforcement agencies for financial support and other resources.
The enthusiastic volunteer response to such requests led the online support forum to become the nationwide nonprofit organization Wives Behind the Badge.
“It eventually became so large, we had to break it down by state,” Christine Morris, Wives Behind the Badge Agency Liaison for Eastern Pennsylvania, said.
The Pennsylvania Auxiliary
Morris, a former police officer, said she first learned of Wives Behind the Badge when she conducted a research project, studying police officer stress during critical incidents, while attending Alrbight College.
Now a Lower Pottsgrove Township resident, Morris is married to a police detective, and has been an active participant in the Wives Behind the Badge online forums.
She said that while the national organization continues to grow its online support and advice forum, its growth into nonprofit status has enabled Wives Behind the Badge volunteer members to have a hands-on presence for local law enforcement.
The national organization describes its state-by-state representation as an “Auxiliary Committee.”
According to Morris, Marla Taylor-Kuntz, a Pittsburgh Bureau of Police wife, started and became the director for the Pennsylvania Auxiliary Committee in February 2012.
In Eastern Pennsylvania, Morris said that there are a handful of members in the Pennsylvania Auxiliary, and are concentrated around the greater Philadelphia suburbs, as well as in the city itself. She said that most auxiliary members are already members of the national organization.
However, she explained that it has taken a better part of a year to complete necessary paperwork in order to be considered a part of the national organization’s non-profit status.
Despite being a new chapter, the Wives Behind the Badge Pennsylvania Auxiliary did not hesitate to come to the aid of the family of fallen Plymouth Township Officer Bradley Fox.
“Officer Fox was our first all-out effort,” Morris said.
Morris, as the Eastern Pennsylvania auxiliary committee’s agency liaison, contacted the Plymouth Towship Police Department, who helped Wives Behind the Badge coordinate with the Fox family. Morris said that three volunteer members then made over 400 memorial ribbons of blue with black backings by hand within two days. She said funeral and viewing attendees wore the ribbons, and added that Wives Behind the Badge also helped organize and provide snacks and refreshments during such gatherings.
“They’re there standing there for hours, and not thinking about that,” Morris said of Fox’s family and the hundreds of police supporters. “We are here to support 100-percent.”
Wives Behind the Badge Vendor Social
While supporting the local police and law enforcement community during times of crisis remains a top priority for Wives Behind the Badge, the national organization also provides other services for the families of those who walk the thin blue line.
Morris points to such efforts as supporting the needs of local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, and providing scholarships to police children and spouses.
The national organization is also extending its national support network to include police children, in a program called “Blue Line Kids,” as well as police relatives, known as “Family Behind the Badge.”
As a nonprofit organization, Wives Behind the Badge depends on growing its volunteer members and fundraising efforts to advance the organization’s mission.
The Wives Behind the Badge Eastern Pennsylvania Auxiliary Committee will hold an informational and social event on Nov. 16, from 6 – 10 p.m., at 1502 Lincoln St. in Phoenixville.
The event is being described as a Wives Behind the Badge Open House, and will feature light refreshments and several local vendors, including:
- Origami Owl (custom jewelry)
- Mary Kay
- The Pampered Chef
- Tastefully Simple
According to Morris, the vendors will donate up to 25-percent of sales to back to Wives Behind the Badge. She added, much like the national online forum, event participants may expect an evening of casual conversations of what life is like being the Wives Behind the Badge.
“We’ll just sit back and enjoy each other’s company,” Morris said.