WICHITA, Kansas — Pictures of all 120 law enforcement officers killed across the U.S. last year are quilted into the stars and stripes of an American flag, paying tribute to their service and sacrifice.
“Sadly, 120 is a very low number,” said Alayna Kempf. ”Each year, it’s normally 150 to 160.”
Kempf and her husband, Rob, sew quilts out of the uniforms of fallen officers to comfort the families left behind. Their non-profit group, “Final Call Quilts,” assembled the special flag quilt in honor of National Police Week, held in Washington D.C. each May.
“This is the first flag quilt that we’ve made, and we’ll be taking it to D.C. with us,” said Alayna. ”We’ll be donating it to the law enforcement museum when it opens in 2015. We plan on making a new one each year so they can display it for a year until they get the next one.”
Their quilt making began in September of 2009 as a kind gesture for the wife of Sedgwick County Deputy, Brian Etheridge, who was ambushed and killed. Now, almost four years later, it’s become a second full-time job for the Kempfs.
“We’ve made almost 200,” said Alayna. ”We don’t send them. We try to personally deliver them.”
It took the Kempfs several month to complete the flag quilt, but it’s something her husband has been wanting to make for a few years. They’ve taken it to different law enforcement agencies around Wichita as a way of thanking the families who also made the ultimate sacrifice.
“Yea, I think it’ll mean a lot to the families,” said Alayna. ”It’s something happy that we’re able to provide for them.”
The Kempfs have taken photos of their many quilts and posted them on the website, www.finalcallquilts.org.