WEST JEFFERSON — A special ribbon cutting was held at the Ashe Chamber & Visitor Center on March 26 for nonprofit Badges of Ashe.
Chamber staff, several local officials and Ashe County Government employees were present to honor Badges of Ashe’s board of directors in their endeavors. The afternoon’s special guest was the ASCO’s new K9 “Condor,” which Badges of Ashe helped purchase.
Badges of Ashe is a nonprofit voluntary organization that was established to lend support to Ashe County law enforcement officers, staff and their families. The nonprofit organization carries out its purpose through collaboration of its members, volunteers, sponsors and donors.
All funds raised by Badges of Ashe will be used to fund projects directly related to the aforementioned entities.
The board of directors includes President Keshea Roland, Vice President John Brown, Treasurer Michele Baldwin, Secretary Jen Blanco and board members Amanda Howell, Randy Rhodes, Wade Huntsinger and Alex Edmisten.
Two members of the board were not present at the ribbon cutting.
According to Roland, the nonprofit was established in September of 2020 and the board has been working to raise money for ASCO, West Jefferson Police Department, Jefferson Police Department and Ashe Memorial Hospital Police Department.
Along with providing funds to help purchase “Condor”, Badges of Ashe has also bought kennels and dog houses for ASCO K9s.
Ashe County Sheriff B. Phil Howell said the initial idea for Badges of Ashe was planted by Ashe County Finance Officer Sandra Long and thanked her for her contribution.
“The goal of this was to benefit everybody,” Howell said.
He added that he hopes for the organization to grow and involve other local departments in events once the COVID-19 pandemic comes to a close.
“It is a great day and we are all certainly grateful for our boys and girls in blue and also their families,” said BOC Chairman Todd McNeill on behalf of the Ashe County Board of Commissioners.
According to Roland, many people have helped them and shown support along the way. They have had several anonymous donors, with several donors still waiting to donate to the organization.
One of their greatest supporters is Mark Baldwin, owner and operator of Renegade Graphics. Baldwin is responsible for the organization’s t-shirts which contain a graphic representing all the departments supported. The graphic includes a blue line for law enforcement, red for Fire, white for EMS, yellow for Dispatch and grey for Corrections. A percentage of the proceeds for shirts sold goes to Badges of Ashe.
According to Roland, a t-shirt fundraiser was one of the organization’s first events and the funds from this helped in the start-up process.
She shared her excitement for Badges of Ashe to continue to grow.
The organization is still looking for supporters and simple monthly donations are greatly appreciated.
For more information about Badges of Ashe, visit the website at www.badgesofashe.com or follow the Facebook page @badgesofashe.
Those who wish to become a volunteer at future events or would like to become a Charter Member can sign up on the website.
Badges of Ashe is located at 560 Beaver Creek School Road in West Jefferson and can be reached by calling (336) 977-1275 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.