Ducks around the nation: A tribute to fallen angels
“That’s the guy you need,” federal wildlife officer Chris Kelly overheard as he walked past a group of law enforcement officers at an April memorial service for fallen Massachusetts Institute of Technology Officer Sean Collier.
Kelly is an officer at the Eastern Massachusetts National Wildlife Refuge Complex in Sudbury, and he was one of more than 14,000 law enforcement officers from across the U.S. and Canada honoring Collier, who had been killed in the line of duty the week before in events following the Boston Marathon bombing.
As Kelly approached the group, an officer handed him a small plastic duck and asked if he would pose for a photo with it. The officer introduced himself and his colleagues as members of the Newtown, Conn., Police Department.
Plastic ducks were among the many gifts sent to children of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown after December 14, 2012, when 20 students and 6 adults were killed in a shooting at the school.
Not sure of what to do with 500 little ducks, the Newtown Police Department Resource Office decorated the children’s new school with them. In addition, officers brought the ducks wherever they went, taking photos of them and sending them back to the Newtown students.
Soon they had duck photos of the Super Bowl, Hollywood, celebrities and government officials. They also took photos of the ducks with police officers from around the country.
A photo of Kelly, proudly wearing his U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service badge, is now part of a collection of inspiring photos on a Facebook page created to honor and celebrate The Ducks of Sandy Hook Elementary Project.
“I consider it a great honor to represent the Service and its law enforcement personnel. I feel even more blessed to be a part of something positive that has come from two tragic events,” Kelly says.
NOTE (6/5/13): Todd Keeping, a Monroe, Conn., police officer, started the Facebook page. Please see his comment below.