KOSCIUSKO COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) – A mother who was mourning the loss of her police officer son has turned her passion for quilting into a tribute. Years later, she has donated three ballistic vests to the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department K9 program to continue honoring his legacy.
On Sept. 20, 2013, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Officer Rod Bradway, a Kosciusko County native, was fatally wounded while saving a domestic violence victim and her 10-month-old child. As a way to cope, Officer Bradway’s mother, Sheri Bradway, turned to quilting.
“[She created] a quilt in honor of Rod. Tears fell often as the design took form. The words were from a tattoo he proudly wore and lived by, a uniform patch, badge number, call number, end-of-watch date, all accompanied by a short note from Mom,” A Quilt for Mother’s Tears’ website said.
While attending National Police Week in Washington D.C. in 2014, Sheri Bradway decided that all mothers of fallen officers killed in the line of duty should have a memorial quilt. After that, she and her quilter’s group formed A Quilt for Mother’s Tears, Inc., according to the organization’s website. Since 2014, the group has presented hundreds of mothers with a quilt to honor their son or daughter.
To continue his legacy, Tom Bradway, Rod’s father, approached the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department in early 2021 about purchasing ballistic vests for the department’s K9 Division.
The department said Sgt. Travis Shively spent numerous hours researching the proper vest style for the program and decided on the Armor Express Tex 10. The vests have Gemini ballistic and stab protection and will be used in high-risk situations.
The department said Chris Trowbridge, owner of Maverick Promotions in North Webster, designed a memorial patch to be worn on top of the vests which were recently given to the department.
“I am appreciative of the graciousness of the Bradway family and the opportunity to honor Rod’s legacy,” said Sheriff Kyle P. Dukes.
To learn more about A Quilt for Mothers Tears or to see how you can get involved, visit the organization’s website.