Area Group Hosts Event To Support Local Police

Jen Urban and Lee Zelina, along with their group United Citizens for Freedom, are hosting a We Back the Blue BBQ on Saturday, October 17 at Griffin Hines Farm, 3950 S. Berkey-Southern Rd. MIRROR PHOTO BY KAREN GERHARDINGER

An historic blues venue is set to open its grounds for the We Back the Blue BBQ on Saturday, October 17.

Organized by a group of area friends known as United Citizens for Freedom, the event will be held from 3:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Griffin Hines Farm on 3950 S. Berkey-Southern Rd. and feature several bands, dinners and gun/CCW raffles to raise money for Swanton and Whitehouse police departments.

“We wanted to let officers know we support them. It’s difficult for them to go out when they don’t know how people will perceive them,” said Lee Zelina, who is coordinating the event with Jen Urban.

United Citizens for Freedom is the name that Zelina, Urban and others in the group of about 50 likeminded people came up with after conversations during the COVID-19 lockdowns. The group shared concerns about negative media portrayal of law enforcement and the issue of defunding. They decided they would like to create unity in their communities while showing support for the police officers, Urban said. 

“As we learned more, we said it was time to stand up and put our faith in action. We see division happening and we want to be a voice for unity,” she said.

“During the lockdowns, we had time to absorb a lot of information, which led us to creating our group and then planning this event,” said Zelina.

Graphic designer Kim Kennedy created logos for We Back the Blue and United Citizens for Freedom. T-shirts, dinners and raffle tickets can be preordered by texting (419) 318-7779. There will be three guns and a CCW class bundle raffled off.

Adult meals are $12.00 and include a half-chicken, baked beans, corn and cookie. Children’s meals are $7.00 and include a hot dog, macaroni and cheese, fruit cup and a cookie. Water, soda and adult beverages will be available for sale.

Proceeds will benefit the Swanton and Whitehouse police departments, which will use funds for equipment, food pantries and any other needs they deem necessary.

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