The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) keeps count of their fallen brothers and sisters so they may be honored during National Police Week in Washington, D.C. and, during the ceremonies, Keller will give a specially-crafted piece of memorial art to the families of each and every officer.
For 2015, the list is 140 names long.
Keller’s employer – Compco Industries in Columbiana, Ohio – has participated in the memorial art project since 2009, with Keller managing the project for the last seven years. “It is extremely emotional,” says Keller of working on the fallen officers’ project. “I’ve done more than a thousand of these pieces over the years… that’s a thousand different, powerful stories.”
The process starts with the FOP, which every year asks Compco Industries to renew its commitment to the officers’ families. They share the final list of honorees with Keller in April – then Keller prepares dozens of individualized lithographs prior to Police Week, which includes the annual Peace Officers Memorial Day observance on May 15th. President John F. Kennedy established this tradition in 1962.
Each lithograph measures 16 inches by 20 inches and is framed for immediate hanging. The stirring image is a collage featuring a police officer in dress uniform holding a folded casket flag, scenes from the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington- including the lion sculptures, which symbolize heroism- and a photo of the honored officer with his or her EOW, or end of watch, date. Families receive their memorials free of charge. The entire effort is supported by sponsorships including primary sponsors Wilbert Funeral Services and the Muransky Companies.
“The families feel a whole range of emotions during Police week, but they are always very grateful for the lithographs and I’m very proud to be a part of their remembrance,” says Keller. Keller meets with the families on May 13 and 14.
For information on this police memorial art project, visit honordutysacrifice.com. For information on National Police Week, visit policeweek.org.
Vince Bevacqua, 330-559-9123