Julie Kempers quilt will help memorialize state troopers work

by: COURTESY PHOTO - Oregon Game Officer Arthur S. Hubbard is listed as Oregons first fallen state trooper.  After he and a deputy rode by horseback up Trail Creek to arrest a settler accused of game poaching. Hubbard was shot and killed by the man found standing in the road near his home. This year, at the second annual Fallen Trooper Memorial Auction, the public, along with police and their families will have the chance to win a one-of-a-kind keepsake — a handmade quilt honoring state troopers across the country, sewn by one of Forest Grove's own.

Red, white and blue, the quilt, conceived by Lieutenant Doug Ladd of the Oregon State Police and fabricated by veteran Forest Grove quilt maker Julie Kemper, contains 49 uniform patches worn by state troopers representing all state police and highway patrol agencies in the U.S. (except for Hawaii who does not have a state police agency).

The “Fallen Trooper Memorial Quilt” will be raffled among other items at the Fallen Trooper Memorial Auction on Saturday, Nov. 10 at The Mill at Willamette Heritage Center in Salem.

Trooper support

Sponsored by the Oregon State Police Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to building a memorial honoring state troopers, the auction is one of several fundraising events created to raise money for Oregon's first Fallen Trooper Memorial.

Oregon is one of the few states without a physical memorial to honor our fallen troopers, said Ladd who has been with the state police for 22 years, a member of the honor guard for 20 years and is currently a Station Commander for Roseburg.

Over the course of the years, Ladd has attended dozens of funerals and memorial services for troopers and police officers. “Building this memorial is significant to me mostly because of the impact it will have on the families of those troopers,” said Ladd.

The wall, to be erected across the street from the state capital building on the Capitol Mall grounds in Salem, will honor the 33 state troopers who have been killed on duty in Oregon from 1914 to 2008.

While a groundbreaking ceremony was held in August for the memorial, principal construction won’t begin until supporters raise $233,000. The hope is that the upcoming auction, and Kemper’s quilt, will help reach the goal.

The placement of the memorial is significant in that it lies literally feet from where state trooper and Superintendent Holly Holcomb was gunned down on Nov. 25, 1975 while walking with another officer into state police headquarters.

As a close friend with many family members of fallen troopers, Ladd says the Fallen Trooper Memorial will serve as a reminder for citizens about the inherent dangers troopers face and the sacrifices they make to protect their fellow citizens.

Quilted memorial

Ladd came up with the idea to raffle a quilt that would hold significance to state troopers. He called all 49 state police and highway patrol agencies and asked each to send a well-worn uniform patch.

“I wanted each patch to have been worn by a state trooper in the performance of their duties,” he said. In the meantime, Ladd called his mother-in-law to ask if she knew anyone willing to make the quilt. She gave him the name of her friend and quilt maker, Julie Kemper of Forest Grove, who jumped on the idea.

Quilting since the 1970s, Kemper said the auction quilt was a rewarding — though challenging — project. Ladd spent eight weeks gathering patches, then delivered them to Julie, who thought up the quilt's design.

“We all owe our policemen and women our deep respect and total support for all they do to serve and protect all of us,” said Kemper, “So this is but a small token of appreciation.”

Using a patriotic color scheme, she placed the 49 emblems in a rectangular pattern around the quilt's center, where she has sewn a line of gold satin to border the thirteen original colonies. Thirteen white stars are also enclosed. Kemper finished the quilt in May. She will pull the quilt's winning ticket at the auction.

So far, officers in charge of the privately funded memorial wall project have raised over half of the $223,000 needed for the its installment. No tax dollars are paying for the project. The only government involvement is the donation of the property where the memorial will sit.

The memorial wall's dedication ceremony and candlelight vigil is expected to be held next year on Aug. 1, 2013, the birthday of the Oregon State Police.

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