Salute to Law Enforcement moved to St. James Church

By Tracy Ouellette

SLN Staff

UPDATE: Because of the inclement weather, Saturday’s Salute to Law Enforcement event will be at St. James Methodist Church in East Troy.

It all started with the pastor at St. James United Methodist Church in East Troy. Rev. Nhia Wahn Her wanted to show his support for local law enforcement and make a connection with the community he had recently joined.

“The situation at the moment, with the media’s portrayal of law enforcement, and especially with my background – I came from a society that police have no power, and coming to this country with its abiding law people – I wanted to show our support for law enforcement,” he said.

Her was born in Laos in 1962 and when the United States pulled out of the Vietnam War in 1975 the country eventually fell to the communists and his family came to the states looking for a better life.

“As my family attempts to escape the country, I struggled and suffered in the jungle as a 13-year-old gorilla soldier for three years. I was finally able to escape to Thailand and lived in the refugee camp for almost two years before coming to the United States in February 1980,” he wrote in his bio on the church’s website.

After living with such lawlessness, Her said he wanted to do something to help community relations with law enforcement.

“The police in this country have a very hard time getting the message out they are there for the people,” Her said. “The police are there to give peace and I said there is no way we cannot support the law enforcement, so idea came and I said let’s make sure this happens.”

Joyce Reed, a member of St. James, helped organize the upcoming event.

“We started talking about this and what we wanted it to look like and we soon realized we needed to honor more than just the police,” Reed said. “So we expanded it to include the sheriff’s department.”

With a goal in mind, Reed began contacting the police chiefs in the Town and Village of East Troy, the Walworth County Sheriff’s Department and the District Attorney’s office.

“We also talked to the priest over at St. Peter’s Catholic Church about the benediction but he wasn’t available, so we met with Deacon Greg Price, who is a retired Chicago police office and has a son on the Village of East Troy Police Department,” she said.

Another church member, Tom Rossmiller, contacted East Troy School choir director Aimee Swanson and band director Tim Hummell to ask if they would be interested in providing music for the event.

Both Reed and Rossmiller said the responses from everyone the talked to were positive and the event quickly took shape.

The Salute to Law Enforcement will be from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 20, and include:

  • Performances by the East Troy High School band and Jazz Choir;
  • Speakers: Village of East Troy Police Chief Alan Boyes, Town of East Troy Police Chief Don Jensen, Walworth County Sheriff Kurt Picknell and District Attorney Zeke Wiedenfeld;
  • Open prayer by Rev. Her; and
  • Benediction by Deacon Greg Price of St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church.

“I want people to know there is no evangelistic idea behind this,” Her said. “We just want the police to know we are supporting them.”

The Walworth County K9 Unit and the Walworth County Mobile Command Center will also be on the village square grounds during the event. Martin’s Hardware – Rental and Pet will also be selling “Back the Badge” items with the profits going to the Walworth County K9 Unit.

For more information, contact the church office at (262) 642-7642.


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