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Showing appreciation for law enforcement

It Worked for Us

In the fall of 2015, a community and a church mourned the loss of a fallen sheriff's deputy, Steven Sandberg, who was killed in the line of duty.

Sandberg, a member of Aitkin United Methodist Church in Aitkin, Minnesota, was loved by many as he offered his time and service to the church's ministry. Among those who remember him are members of the 2016 confirmation class. Sandberg mentored one of the class members, Carter Kjelstrom. Sandberg's wife, Kristi, also mentored some of the students.

With their confirmation day on May 15 – part of National Law Enforcement Week – the timing worked well for a community project to show appreciation for law enforcement personnel.

"We are a cop-friendly church," said the Rev. Dawn Houser, pastor. "We do things to love on them, and we want to show God's love." The 2017 confirmands will probably do the same community project, reaching out to police and sheriff's officers in Aitkin County, she said.

The young people assembled cinch sacks filled with candy bars, lint rollers, sunblock, toothbrushes, water and other items. The officers received gift certificates from local restaurants and businesses. They also distributed 40 donated tickets from Three Bears Water and Theme Park for the officers' children. Even Loki, the K9, received a blanket with embroidery from a local store.

The youth made an additional 18 bags for the deputies who traveled to Washington on May 13 to honor Sandberg as his name was added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.

Houser said she is intentional about connecting the church and the community. "We are here, as a church, to serve and care for our bankrupt souls," she said. "This will also help the confirmands to see why it is important to be there for the community."

AT A GLANCE Aitkin United Methodist Church | 104 2nd St. NW, Aitkin, MN 56431 | 218-927-3242 | [email protected] | The Rev. Dawn Houser | Average worship att