THE VILLAGES, Fla. - A woman who lives in The Villages has a unique was to honor fallen law enforcement.
Colleen Hutton has more than 300 Christmas ornaments she made herself. They carry the names of police officers killed in the line of duty.
“I just have this passion about doing something to honor and remember these law enforcement officers,” Hutton said.
She started making the ornaments after 9/11. She puts names of officers from all across the country on them. She also includes the date they died, their agency and their rank.
The names of hometown officers who have died are also on the ornaments, like Orlando police officer Debra Clayton and Kissimmee officer Matthew Baxter. Hutton also includes the names of K9 officers that have died.
She’s so passionate about the ornaments because her son, Matthew, is a police officer.
“It hurts every time we lose these officers because that could be my son,” Hutton said.
The family participates in memorial bike rides that honor fallen officers.
Hutton has met some of the families behind the ornaments. “I say to myself, ‘How many children are waking up this morning not having a mommy or daddy there?’” Hutton said. “They’ll never be there again.”
Even though the tributes go up only once a year, they're in her heart year-round.
“We have the connection because of law enforcement and we’re all considered a blue family,” Hutton said.