Letter From Our Leader (aka COVID Update)

Dear Friends,

The world is going through some crazy times, and we hope you are well and blessed in the midst of it. We understand it’s been a difficult few months for many, but we truly hope you are not only surviving, but thriving.

Several have asked how COVID has affected How2LoveOurCops, as a lot of what we do involves getting people together. We thought it time to send out an update of not only how we’re doing now, but also what’s ahead.

Since our Gala in mid-November 2019, our work has continued. The end of 2019 brought community events, holidays and celebration, and the unfortunate news that our VOWS Retreat venue in Montana burned down (SO bummed about that). January through early March we were spinning up for two Home Watch Spouse Conferences, one in Sacramento and another in Oklahoma City in partnership with Warrior’s Rest Foundation. Some of us traveled the country building into the lives and marriages of officers in Florida, Idaho, Virginia, and Missouri, as well as California and Montana. We also met with spouses from three departments on how to start/rekindle a spouse group.

Then COVID hit. We had to cancel our travels, and have postponed our Home Watch Spouse Conferences, but are taking advantage of the down time.

We’ve held two Home Watch Virtual Gatherings (Zoom) with our guest speakers from both Home Watch Conferences, and about 100 officers, spouses, and therapists joined in on those. Topics included Mother’s Day, the importance of sleep, practical solutions for anxiety and parenting tools during the shelter in place mandate. We hold our third this Saturday 0900 PST, with a married couple going deep with their story of marriage after trauma. We plan to continue monthly Virtual Gatherings even after everything opens up.

We’ve moved all of our events to July and beyond, and are hopeful they’ll come to pass. We’re meeting this week to make some key decisions and innovative changes to see how we can best help our LEO Families. We’d appreciate your prayers/good thoughts as we move forward.

Being inside our homes has also brought about some incredible things:

  • Intentional time with our families.
  • Our newest resource is almost finished, which is Sacramento Deputy Scott Brown’s story (Community Liaison Liz’ husband). The book is called Facing Evil: A Cop’s Story of Murder, Mayhem, and the Aftermath, and chronicles the crime spree of Luis Bracamontes on October 24, 2014 (two deputies were killed). Scott and Liz share their journey of post-trauma healing that we hope gives other officers and their families an idea of how to live, heal, and thrive post-devastation.
  • Vice President Active Duty Janine has been busy with her team project of putting together a handbook for creating a successful spouse group. That is almost ready for publishing.
  • We are in talks of entering a partnership that will place H2LOC as the go-to organization for spouses for 100 departments overnight, with hundreds more to come in the next few years. The opportunity is mind-boggling, so stay tuned for updates.
  • We are also working on developing programs that will further help educate LEOs/Spouses and expand us systematically to other states. These include peer support, state liaisons, more content, and training.
  • After life returns to a new normal, we’re doing a push for volunteers. We have a list of volunteer positions just waiting for skilled people to come on board.

Our traveling, Lord-willing, will begin again mid-July as several of us head for Reno, Nevada for the COPS’ Traumas of Law Enforcement Seminar. We’re scheduled for work in Oklahoma City OK, Plano TX, Columbus OH, Little Rock AR, Bozeman MT, Roanoke VA, and Pocatello ID the rest of the year, banning any other interruptions.

This COVID thing has been rough, but it’s given some down time to really think through where we’re going, and how to respond to the needs we see and hear. As we move forward, we’re focusing on what we can do rather than what we can’t.

As financial burdens bear down upon our country after the shutdowns, we are looking at the best ways to fund our plans. If you are able, please consider donating a small amount every month–one family sends us $2 faithfully every month, and we are so thankful!!! Every dollar is used towards our programs, and expenses as we work alongside LEO Families. Our staff are all volunteers and do not receive salaries. We are a transparent and reputable 501c3 organization, as you can see on our Financials page on our website.

Our Hearts for Blue Gala (Fundraiser and Community Support Event) is scheduled for October 3rd at this time. We’d been working on a great program before the shutdown, but we have to figure out some details before we open up registration. Last year we had 350 people attend, so of course we need to see if this is doable, safe, and wise.

Home Watch Oklahoma City on August 22 is confirmed! We have spots open for that conference–you don’t want to miss it!

The other two conferences, Home Watch Sacramento (7/25), and VOWS Retreat (held 8/31-9/4 in CA this year) will depend on the California guidelines. We are beginning to see things opening up now, so we are hopeful. Watch our Event Calendar (how2loveourcops.org/events/calendar) for updates.

Many thanks for your support, and we hope to see you soon!

Victoria M. Newman