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Sign campaign gives back to area departments

Sign campaign gives back to area departments Sign campaign gives back to area departments

What started as a way to show support for local law enforcement officers has exploded into a massive campaign of support around the region and has lead to nearly $4,000 helping law enforcement causes in communities around the region.

According to Beth Baker of Pro Designs, in June, a friend and fellow Medford business owner contacted her about getting a “Back the Blue” sign. Pro Designs made one and the individual was placing the sign in the ground at her business when Emily Balsis of Utopia Day Spa happened to be driving by and saw it.

Balsis is the wife of Taylor County sheriff’s deputy Aemius Balsis and wanted to do something to show support for local law enforcement. Balsis contacted Baker about possibly selling the signs with a portion of the proceeds going to help law enforcement causes. They figured that maybe they would sell 30 or 40 of them. In the end, a total of 750 signs were sold in the Medford area raising $1,500. The money will go toward the purchase of a new K-9 dog for the area after the current K-9 retires.

The sign campaign was not restricted solely to Medford. In July 4, women with connection to the Antigo Police Department stopped at Pro Design’s office to buy a sign. Baker was there finishing up a different order and got to talking to the women. They bought some signs and left, and then Baker noted that a few minutes later they were back wanting to get the Antigo Police Department involved in the program. Every few weeks they were back for more signs to sell and Mike Baker issued a challenge to the Antigo folks to sell 1,000 signs. They did so and raised $2,000. Antigo is also using the money for their K-9 program.

Rib Lake Police Department was also involved with 49 signs sold raising $98 to help with that department’s projects. Sixteen signs have also been purchased for the LaCrosse Police Department raising $32.

On September 4, Thorp police department got on board with the project and started with 25 signs and is now at 225 sold, raising $550. Athens has sold 100 signs in that area raising $200. Cadott also got involved distributing 100 signs and raising $200. Beth Baker explains that it keeps expanding, noting they were recently contacted by Altoona police about getting involved with the program after seeing the signs in Cadott.

In addition to the “Back the Blue” signs, Pro Designs also produced a Support Local Farmers sign with the Medford FFA. They have sold 80 of those signs raising $160 which will be used to help support local farmers.

Baker said those still interested in purchasing signs may do so at Pro Designs location on Hwy 13 just south of the city of Medford. The signs remain $10 each with $2 from each future sale going to local food pantries.

Beth Baker of Pro Designs explains how the Back the Blue campaign got underway.