WESTERVILLE, OH (WCMH) — The Westerville community continues to mourn the shooting deaths of Police Officers Tony Morelli and Eric Joering.
On Tuesday, a small condo-community called Asherton Grove held a memorial service for all first responders, including police officers and firefighters.
The Westerville condo community, located on Central College Road, invited first responders to a reading of the “Thin Blue Line,” which organizers said is their way of reaching out and paying tribute.
The “Thin Blue Line” is described online as representing the police officer role of separating the good from the bad while creating order from chaos. The thin blue line on a black background, seen on officers’ badges, cruiser doors, and on an American flag, is a memorial to officers killed in the line of duty and those who continue with their duties in the present.
Steve Winiecki, is the neighborhood organizer of the condo memorial and spoke at the event.
“Look at what Officers Morelli and Joering have taught us all. They brought us all together because of their incredible spirit. We needed them, loved and respected them,” Winiecki said.
The event was also a reminder that first responders need support as well, and not just after line-of-duty deaths.
“The Thin Blue Line challenges every community in America and the media’s need to support these everyday heroes, not just this week alone, but every day of the year,” said Winiecki.
First responders standing at attention behind the memorial included two Westerville police officers, members of Columbus police, and fire along with a trooper from the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
“They are a line,” Winiecki said, pointing to the first responders. “The Thin Blue Line, God bless officers Tony Morelli and Eric Joering, Amen!”
Neighbors hugged the Westerville officers and thanked all of them for their service and sacrifice.
“Hey thanks for everybody coming out here, we really appreciate your support,” a police sergeant responded.
Winiecki said over a third of the residents have some connection to military, police or a fire department.
“This hit home for us instantly and it was an automatic duty for us to recognize those fallen heroes,” he said.