Community

‘Back the Blue’ Auto Parade Nov. 14

These 1960s Chevrolet Corvettes are part of at an auto show on Main in Hendersonville.

Hendersonville – The “Back the Blue” auto parade will be in Hendersonville this Saturday, November 14, featuring antique and collectible autos and motorcycles in a parade to benefit local law enforcement.

The Antique and Collectible Car and Motorcycle Parade Fundraiser is a Stand T.A.L.L. (Thank A Local Lawman) fundraiser, with a minimal donation of $10 per car or motorcycle entry.

The money is earmarked for local police dog (K-9) bulletproof vests and their emergency medical kits, said organizer Ron Kauffman, Stand T.A.L.L. founder and board president.

The first 175 car entrants receive a free “Thin Blue Line” exterior car window flag.

Vehicles will line up from noon to 1:15 p.m. at the parking lot for Fresh Market, PetSmart, and United Federal Credit Union—on the lot’s northern end, in front of the bank. The lot is by the intersection of Greenville and Spartanburg highways, at the south edge of downtown Hendersonville.

The parade departs from that parking lot at 1:30 pm, accompanied by law enforcement vehicles, winds through downtown, and ends at Triskelion Brewing Company at 340 Seventh Ave. E.,  where live music is planned at a reception that begins 2 p.m.

Those not in the parade are encouraged to cheer the drivers along the route or to meet them at Triskelion around 2 p.m., Kauffman said.

He noted, “This is not a political event. So please, no political signs, banners, or party flags” on vehicles.

K-9’s Best Friend

Nonprofit Stand T.A.L.L. has aided purchase, equipping, and training of police dogs for various local departments in recent years. This summer, four more K-9s for Henderson County sheriffs got state-of-the-art vests. Stand T.A.L.L. board vice president Sharon Hanson, an avid animal lover, once again led fundraising for the furry crime fighters.

The vests have “lightweight, bullet-proof, slash and puncture-resistant material,” Kauffman noted. “Like the vests that their human partners wear, these vests provide our K-9 cops with an added layer of protection when they are on duty.”

As K-9 unit supervisor Lt. Kevin Holden noted, typically the fast police dogs are first to reach a suspect and thus most at risk for getting shot.

“This is incredible,” Lt. Holden said of the donation. “We’re so fortunate to have an organization like Stand T. A.L.L. that not only supports what we in law enforcement do, but is willing to step up and provide us with funding for these vests for our four-legged partners.”

Sheriff Lowell Griffin said, “The men and women of law enforcement, as well as our K-9s, often find themselves in dangerous situations. We are blessed to live and work in a community where law enforcement is appreciated and supported.”

Kauffman said thanked donors are “special people…They are the real reason for the success of this campaign.”

Last month, Stand T.A.L.L. bought a $1,750 vest for Columbus police’s first K-9 and raised money toward buying a replacement for Waynesville police’s K-9 that died of cancer. That $11,000 project is for the dog, its training tuition, vest, and medical kit. Nearly ten more K-9 medical kits are planned for police dogs for Buncombe County sheriffs and other area departments.

“We’ve expanded our reach and involvement in the acquisition and care of K-9s for law enforcement throughout [WNC],” Kauffman said.

Break Point

The group’s assistance goes beyond police dogs to include un-budgeted yet pressing needs. “We’re proud to have provided every local [within Henderson County] area department with donations for use with training, protective vests, tactical lights and tourniquets,” Kauffman said. “We currently continue to fund uniformed off-duty police for mentoring and security at the Boys & Girls Club as well as tuition support” for those studying basic law enforcement training at Blue Ridge Community College.

Stand T.AL.L. donated $1,000 in March to the Break Point program to stock supplies in a secret spot in Hendersonville for down time and on-duty breaks for local first responders. Law officers, firemen, rescue squad workers, and EMS technicians can “decompress and relax with sworn personnel from other disciplines,” Kauffman said. He is eager to “support those who are protecting us during these difficult times.”

The site is open round-the-clock and has free snacks and refreshments for first responders. West Hendersonville Baptist Church runs Break Point.

In mid-March, Stand T.A.L.L. donated a hundred 3M-N95 respirator masks to Pardee Hospital.

For more information about the benefit parade or about Stand T.A.L.L., call Ron Kauffman at 393-0900 or check www.thestandtall.org.