Christmas tree honors fallen first responders
The tree has 330 blue ornaments and 176 red ornaments in honor of LEOs, firefighters who died in the line of duty and by suicide across the nation this year
By News Staff
FAIRFAX, Va. – Police in Virginia are honoring the fallen this year and raising awareness for the mental health crisis in public safety with a nine-foot Christmas tree.
According to WJLA, the tree that stands outside the Fairfax County Public Safety Headquarters has 330 blue ornaments and 176 red ornaments in honor of the LEOs and firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty and by suicide across the nation this year. Additionally, a gold and silver ornament represents 911 dispatchers who died by suicide in 2019.
The Fairfax County Police Association put up the tree, which was donated by a local business. The tree is intended to raise awareness for the mental health crisis plaguing first responders.
“The cumulative impact of stress from being a first responder starts to creep up on you,” Fairfax County Police Chief Ed Roessler told WJLA. “Death by suicide in the first responder profession is outpacing line of duty deaths. That is totally unacceptable and my peer leaders across this country, we need to do a better job. We need to step up. We need to save our people.”