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Volunteer effort shines: Project to show support for law enforcement off to a good start

By Staff | Apr 8, 2010

By TIFFANY REPECKI, trepecki@breezenewspapers.com
The Cape Coral Citizens Police Academy Alumni’s Blue Light Bulb Project has hit the ground running in its first year.
The project, adopted by the group in January, aims to thank local police officers for their commitment and honor those who have given their life in the line of duty with a display of blue lights during National Police Week.
“Our vision is to light up the neighborhoods,” said Ron Brusius, a member of the alumni’s Steering Committee and project organizer with his wife, Betty.
In 1962, Congress declared May 15 as Police Memorial Day and former U.S. President John F. Kennedy implemented it in 1963, according to a prepared statement from the alumni. Each year, it is the day to honor fallen officers, and the week in which May 15 falls is National Police Week.

The Cape Coral Citizens Police Academy Alumni is asking the community to burn a blue light bulb during National Police Week in outdoor lamp posts, or other outdoor lighting, or in a window for those who do not have an outdoor light. To help the project along, the group has been selling blue light bulbs.
According to Brusius, more than 400 bulbs had been sold as of Wednesday. The group started selling the lights in February and delivered the first three to a woman whose husband is a Fort Myers police officer. The husband was home when the lights were delivered and he quickly put them up.
“He immediately installed the bulbs, which I thought was really neat,” he said.
The Brusiuses have had six blue bulbs burning outside of their home at 3503 S.W. 29th Ave., since March to raise interest in the group’s project.
“Because it takes so long to promote it and get it built up,” Brusius said.
The group has sold bulbs to a retired police officer from Ontario, Canada, who planned to take the lights back to the city of Waterloo for his citizens police academy, and a retired officer from Boston, who had the same plan in mind. Bulbs have gone to people from St. Paul, Minn., Long Island, N.Y., and New York City.
“So we’ve pretty much spread them around the country,” he said.
Locally, blue light bulbs have been purchased by the Northwest Neighborhood Association, Cape Coral Citizens Police Academy and Cape Coral Social Club, among others. The Cape Coral Social Club had bought the most bulbs in bulk as of Wednesday with an order that topped 100.
Like the buyers, the reason behind each purchase has varied. One couple said they lost their son in a pursuit in Fort Myers in 2003, Brusius said. A retired Long Island officer said that he was buying the lights for his fallen comrades.
“We’re gotten all sorts of responses,” he said.
The blue light bulbs are available for $2 each at Crown Trophy at 861 S.E. 47th Terrace, or Saturdays at the Cape Coral Farmer’s Market in Club Square in downtown Cape Coral. To have the bulbs delivered, contact Ron and Betty Brusius at 549-6474 or rbrusius@comcast.net .
“We’re already planning for next year,” Brusius added.