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Police across Coast are United in Blue

Organizers are preparing for the Nov. 19 United in Blue fundraiser at Golden Nugget Biloxi to benefit the families of fallen and wounded Baton Rouge law enforcement officers. From left are Bobby Carter of the Golden Nugget, D’Iberville police Detective Zachary Grady and Kristin Allen, president of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Blue Team.
Organizers are preparing for the Nov. 19 United in Blue fundraiser at Golden Nugget Biloxi to benefit the families of fallen and wounded Baton Rouge law enforcement officers. From left are Bobby Carter of the Golden Nugget, D’Iberville police Detective Zachary Grady and Kristin Allen, president of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Blue Team. meperez@sunherald.com

The shooting of police officers in Baton Rouge last summer has South Mississippi law enforcement agencies United in Blue.

“It was our next-door neighbors,” said D’Iberville police Detective Zachary Grady, who came up with the idea for a fundraiser called United in Blue. Like law enforcement officers everywhere, “they go to work every day and they realize they may not come home that day.”

Three officers died and three were wounded July 17. Looking for a way to honor them and help their families, local law enforcement decided on United in Blue.

Plans call for a night of food and music from 6 to 10 Nov. 19 in Biloxi at the Golden Nugget’s ballroom. Music will be by Rockin’ Dopsie Jr. & the Zydeco Twisters. Cajun cuisine and a cash bar are planned, along with a silent auction. Dress is casual.

Grady said he wants these Baton Rouge families to feel the support and caring of South Mississippi. Every agency in Harrison County has assigned someone to help on the committee, he said, and the nonprofit MS Gulf Coast Blue Team is helping organize the fundraiser.

Originally they thought about having the benefit at a community center, but as word got out, the Golden Nugget offered to host and co-sponsor it. It has grown from 200 to possibly 3,000 estimated attendance. Admission is $30 per person or two for $50.

Kristin Stachura Allen, MS Gulf Coast Blue Team president, said they recently went to Baton Rouge to extend personal invitations to the families, and many said they will attend.

Allen is the wife of a law enforcement officer and sister of two officers. Her agency will ensure the money “will go exactly where we want it to go,” she said — to benefit the Baton Rouge officers’ families.

One wife learned she was pregnant after her husband was killed, Allen said. “There’s a handful of kids who don’t have a daddy anymore.”

Allen already had a woman from Baton Rouge send a bracelet for the silent auction, and she was contacted by ReLEntless Defender Apparel, a Texas company that offered to design and produce T-shirts. The 1,000 shirts arrived Friday and will go on sale before the benefit for $20 each.

“That’s $20,000 right there,” Grady said.

Among the other items that have been donated for the auction are a variety of gifts cards, a Hall of Fame New Orleans Saints football signed by Rickey Jackson and a baseball and 1979 baseball card signed by former New York Yankees pitcher Rich “Goose” Gossage.

For tickets, donations and sponsorships, email unitedinblue10.42@gmail.com.

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