Local church members gather to thank protectors

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GRANDVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — At a time when law enforcement is under the microscope, a special ceremony was held Thursday to thank them.

More than 200 women and children from more than 10 churches gathered at Resurrection Life Church in Grandville to celebrate the hard work of men and women in uniform in a “thank you to our protectors” ceremony. The children put on a performance about law enforcement and sang “God Bless the USA.”

“I think in today’s climate, that was a perfect song to be singing,” Police Chief Steve Bukula said.

Officers got a standing ovation.

“Be their rear guard, follow them, keeping them safe from any unseen danger,” a speaker said, directing the women in prayer as they lifted their hands up for the 15 agencies represented at the event.

Local police said the gratitude goes a long way.

“It’s a great, great honor for such young adults because what’s going on in today’s society, it’s good to see that not everybody feels like that way and we are appreciated,” GRCC Police Officer Robin Kritzman said.

“Quite honestly, when people speak up in this way it’s almost inspiring to do your job even better,” Kent County Sheriff’s Dept. Outreach Coordinator Joel Roon said.

Attendees said they don’t think people say thanks often enough.

“They’re so selfless. They’re so willing to just be there,” Resurrection Life Church member Nancy Bolek said.

“It’s so important to teach our kids, one, not to be afraid of law enforcement, but to really appreciate what they do for us and to say thank you,” Amy Steiner, another church member, said.

The gratitude was returned with remarks from Kentwood Chief Tom Hillen.

“We are very appreciative that you take the time to honor us like this and to pray for us, especially,” he said.

“In Western Michigan, we are so fortunate and blessed to have such a great community support in the first place. What you’re seeing is this little fractions of dissent nationwide,” Walker Police Chief Greg Long told 24 Hour News 8.