Dec 10, 2016
INDIANOLA, Iowa - It all started in a kindergarten classroom at Irving Elementary School.
"So after the deaths of our Des Moines police officers, many students and staff here in Indianola wanted to show their appreciation to our Indianola Police Department," said Amy Jo Naughton, principal of Irving Elementary.
It was a simple gesture by these students; make cards and cookies for the Indianola Police Department to show them they are appreciated.
"But then, they took it a step further and asked, 'What else can we do to help support you in a meaningful way,'" Naughton said.
From that conversation, the school learned the Indianola police officers needed new radios - an upgrade sporting a $130,000 price-tag.
"We want to help them," one student said. "By giving them new radios."
These kids aren't in it alone; the "IBackTheBlue" effort now has support from every school in the district, Simpson College, various churches and private groups, and even Hy-Vee and Fairway.
"We have such a positive relationship with our officers here throughout the community," Naughton said. "They really go out of their way to make connections with kids."
And the kids are going out of their way in return.
"I'm going to sell my doll-house so they have money so they can buy new radios," a student said.
It could be a child selling her doll-house, or Hy-Vee donating $15,000 to the cause. No matter how big or small, it all represents the same message to Indianola police.
"We're hoping overall that they understand they are appreciated, that we do support them, and we know that the job that they do is very difficult, very challenging, and they're put into very challenging situations," Naughton said. "And we just want them to have the best equipment they can have to do their job to their fullest."
The IBackTheBlue campaign runs through December with the goal of raising $130,000 for the Indianola Police Department. You can donate, too: the Indianola City State Bank has created a special account for the fundraiser. Make all donations to "Indianola Police Department New Radios."