The concept of a gathering was born to build morale, show appreciation for the profession, and support officers’ families. I am excited to announce that on Sunday, April 16, 2023, the inaugural “Blessing of the Squads” will take place at Bald Knob Cross. Bald Knob Cross is located in Alto Pass, Illinois among the foothills of the Ozark mountain range. It rises at a beacon, a monument of peace, faith, charity, and hope. It rises 111 feet and is visible over 750 miles and is one of the largest crosses in the US. This is also the location of similar traditions including the Blessing of the Bikes – which will celebrate its 31st year in 2023 and the Blessing of the Jeeps annual event where over 2000 jeeps participate in the festivities.
The vision for the Blessing of the Squads is to have all of Illinois’ law enforcement officers represented in a space to bring hope and community to the profession. All the squads present will be blessed for safety, protection, and success in their daily calling. The state FOP Chaplain, Dan Lovin, has graciously agreed to do the blessing.
The event is made complete with great food, music, and a spirit of comradery.
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Every day, men and women across this state, and country, put on a uniform. They put on a utility belt. And they put on a bulletproof vest. In the current climate of our nation, that is the most essential thing that that man or woman owns. They step out the door and they just don’t know if they will be returning to it at the end of their shift.