MARIETTA, Ga. (WANE) – When Col. David Dodd was serving in the Army, he provided the men under him with scripture-inscribed dog tags he hoped would inspire them and give them courage.
The tags’ inscriptions were from Joshua 1:9: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
The scripture helped Dodd, particularly in situations he couldn’t change, but knew he had to face.
After he retired in 2011, Dodd took that same spirit and founded Point 27, so named for the 27 books in the Bible’s New Testament. In 2016, he expanded the Georgia non-profit to include dog-tag necklace gifts for law enforcement called Thin Blue Line Shields of Strength. On those are inscribed the words of Matthew 5:9: “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God.”
Dog tag gifts were on the list to be sent to the Indiana State Police almost immediately after Dodd and his organization heard about the death of Master Trooper James Bailey Friday, who was struck by a fleeing suspect as he was putting out stop sticks on I-69.
Included with the 27 inscribed dog tags for his partner and his fellow ISP troopers is a folded flag pendant keepsake necklace for Bailey’s wife.
On the folded flag, the inscribed words are from John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
The goal is to bless every officer in the country – that makes about one million officers, Dodd said Wednesday during a phone interview. So far, the organization has sent out about 300,000 Thin Blue Line dog tags. The total number of dog tags sent to military, law enforcement, first responders and their families is approaching 800,000. Point 27 relies on private donations to do its work, Dodd said.
“Every time there’s a line of duty death, we send 27 of the Thin Blue Line tags to their officers,” Dodd said. The folded flag dog tags have been sent to about 38,000 family members.
Dodd said the goal is to tell the family members “that their loved one is never going to be forgotten. Every day to them is memorial day. Their worst fear to them is someone is going to forget their son or their dad and the sacrifice that they made.”
To the fallen hero’s officers, the message is “to let them know that this gentleman was recognized by us and by others and his fellow officers.”
His personal message to the Bailey family is that Bailey was a “hero. We’ll never forget him.”
He sends words of encouragement to Bailey’s fellow officers: “What you’re doing day after day, I know it’s tough when you lose someone in your organization. The best way to honor him is to continue in your profession. We need you. We’re so grateful for you. You honor him by staying on the job and doing the best you can every day. We really appreciate it.”