RAMAPO, N.Y. -- A simple message of appreciation for the things that police do to keep communities safe every day is popping up on cars all over Rockland County.
The blue-and-white car speech-bubble-shaped magnets, which read “I support and thank my police department,” were conceived by Monsey resident and community activist Shoshana Bernstein.
The mom of five said she was searching for a way to show community support for law enforcement agencies in the wake of the tragic police shootings in Dallas.
She happened to be thinking a lot at the time of 9/11 and the first responders who made so many personal sacrifices to help victims of the terror attacks.
“Yes, it is a job, and police officers get paid, but they are the ones running towards danger while the rest of us are running away from it,” Bernstein said.
But it was news story about a letter from the young daughter of a police officer, pleading “Daddy, please don’t go to work today,” that clinched it for Bernstein.
“That really, really touched me,” she said.
It may have been her brainchild, but even Bernstein was shocked at how quickly her “My Appreciation Counts” campaign took off.
“From concept to distribution, it was about four weeks,” she said.
First she rounded up a sponsor: HIKO Energy, a Monsey company.
Once the first order of 2,000 magnets were in hand, Bernstein distributed them to the Ramapo Police Department and several kosher supermarkets: Monsey Glatt, Evergreen, Welsey Kosher and Rockland Kosher.
They were snapped up so fast that Bernstein had to put in another order for 1,000.
“The response was just amazing; from every angle,” she said.
Stories began to pour in from grateful folks who said they were thinking of baking cookies or sending notes to show how much they appreciated their local police but couldn’t come up something simple, but so “impactful” at the same time, Bernstein said.
One of those stories involved a “great big, 6-foot 3-inch cop who had tears in his eyes” when he was told about the magnet campaign, she added.
Bernstein’s husband was the first to put one of them on his car.
“He actually was getting stopped in the street and asked about it,” she said.
It wasn’t long before everyone got on board – local publications even offered free ad space – and within two weeks, all 2,000 magnets were gone.
Bernstein, who is looking into trademarking the concept, says one of the groups she is involved in has chapters and members all over the country.
They may be just one of the ways she gets to spread the word, and the campaign.
Right now, Bernstein is looking into packaging the promotional materials, advertising and the magnets themselves so other groups can conduct similar campaigns.
And, who knows? The idea may grow to include other public servants, such as firefighters and emergency medical technicians and spread across the nation.
“We tend to take a lot of people for granted,” Bernstein said, “But I don’t know anyone who doesn’t appreciate being appreciated.”
For more information, contact Bernstein at email@example.com.