The History of Blue Friday
When is Blue Friday?
Blue Friday is the 2nd Friday in March, it is a day that has been set aside by the New York State Legislature each year since 2005 to honor ALL law enforcement officers who have been killed in the line of duty and also those who are still protecting and serving.
How was Blue Friday started?
In 2004 in the Capital District area of New York State two police officers lost their lives within a short period of time in Albany and Schenectady. With the deaths of these two officers the citizens of the community poured out their support for their families and the officers in the area. Pat Fox who was an Albany Police officer had the idea of starting a local chapter of the Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS), and reached out to the local police officers and police unions in the area and together they were able to get the support needed to start a chapter. This group determined there was a need for this type of organization to support the families of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty past, present, and hopefully never in the future. On August 6, 2004 the National Concerns of Police Survivors chartered The Capital Region COPS Chapter. This was the 1st chapter of COPS that was formed by law enforcement officers in the country.
In October of 2004 the COPS chapter sponsored a COPS Celtic Concert, which was held at the Pepsi Arena and was supported by the local television and radio stations as well as the community.
In December of 2004 Pat Fox was contacted by a local radio station WGNA who wanted to do some type of fundraiser to honor Lt. John Finn of the Albany Police Dept. who was killed in the line of duty in February 2004 around the 1-year anniversary of his death. They came up with the idea of doing something on a Friday and calling it Blue Friday, but it was decided that if we were going to honor an officer that was killed in the line of duty, we were going to honor ALL officers who were killed in the line of duty. In discussing this we felt it was wrong to only honor an officer that was killed and that we should also honor ALL the law enforcement officers who are still serving and protecting their communities. Thus BLUE FRIDAY was born.
The local COPS chapter and WGNA began planning the event and a local florist, Frank Gallo agreed to donate 2,000 blue carnations and they would be available for sale on the 2nd Friday of February from 6AM-10AM in the parking lot of Colonie Center and the Sean and Richie Show would broadcast live. We reached out for support from the local and state police departments, local elected leaders and approached the New York State Senate who made a resolution and declared February 11, 2005 as the first Blue Friday throughout New York State. All of the citizens of New York were encouraged to wear blue to honor all of the law enforcement officers and to donate $5.00 for a blue carnation. On Friday, February 11, 2005, 8 local police agencies and the New York State Police arrived at 5AM and along with WGNA raised $12,000.00 in 4 hours and the money was used to take 2 families to Washington, DC during National Police Week.
The following year for Blue Friday we designed a logo which was put on a limited edition T-shirt and other types of clothing, and these items were also sold and have been sold at Blue Friday ever since. Each year a different limited edition T-shirt and polo shirt is designed for the event. In 2006 Blue Friday was incorporated in New York State and the chapter applied for a patent and trademark, which was issued for the name Blue Friday and its logo.
Since 2005 Blue Friday has continued to grow and the New York State Senate has declared Blue Friday statewide each year, and the funds that are raised each year have been used to assist the families of law enforcement officers who have been killed in the line of duty.
In 2010 we incorporated Blue Friday of New York which is a 501c3 Corporation, and dissolved our COPS chapter. The reason for this was to keep all of the funds that we raise locally to assist these families, and we also expanded our role to include assistance to the families of law enforcement families who are seriously injured during in line of duty or to the families of a law enforcement officer who is killed while not on duty.
We have over 50 different police agencies that assist us at our two locations in the Capital District area. This year Blue Friday will be held on March 8, 2013 and we will be celebrating our 9th Anniversary. We look forward to your continued support this year and in the years to come.
If there is anyone out there who would like to start a Blue Friday event in their community or is interested in finding out more information you can visit our website, check us out on Facebook or contact one of our officers.