Carole Smith was so disheartened after learning so many law enforcement officers lost their lives in the line of duty in 2018, she felt compelled to do something.
After praying and asking God what she could do to help, she found her answer. With her compassion for police officers and her creativity, she quickly started working on a campaign to send a message to all officers in her community: they are supported and cared for.
Smith created “Hearts for Law Enforcement” in early January as a way to show law enforcement officers love and support. While the campaign is still in its early stages, Smith is diligently making heart-shaped cards with messages of love and respect, which she intends to deliver to the Goldsboro Police Department on Valentine’s day.
“I just felt like they need support and the community needs to let them know we care,” Smith said. “It seemed like every night there was some police officer (somewhere was) getting killed in the line of duty, and it just touched my heart in a way that I can’t really explain.
“I just have so much compassion for these men and women who choose to wear the badge, who choose to go into harm’s way.”
Smith said law enforcement officers all over the county do more than just protect people. She cited events such as Shop with a Cop, Coffee with a Cop and other activities in which police get involved. Making the hearts with messages of support is one way to give back to those officers, Smith said.
Anyone who is interested in making a heart to send to a police officer for Valentine’s Day can either mail the heart to Smith at 415 Bartlett Road, Pikeville, N.C., 27863, or visit one of the three drop off locations at In-Joy Thrift, located at 1711 E. Ash St., Legend’s Hair and Nail Salon, at 3611 E. Ash St., or Pikeville Mini Mart, 101 Goldsboro St. in Pikeville.
Smith said people can make their hearts any way they want. They can get as creative as they want and write any type of message as long as it is respectful, encouraging and supportive of the officers. The hearts are meant to show officers that people support and care about them, so she will not deliver any hateful messages.
“There’s such disrespect for law enforcement,” Smith said. “I get that there are bad cops, but that’s only a few out of the millions. I’m here to support (law enforcement) as whole.”
Smith is not stopping at Valentine’s Day, though. The retired truck driver plans to pour as much free time as she has into creating heart shaped cards to deliver to law enforcement agencies all over Wayne County year-round.
While Smith said she is only delivering the hearts to the GPD on Valentine’s day, she hopes to send cards to the Sheriff’s Office, Fremont Police Department and the Pikeville Police Department. She eventually wants to expand and have enough people involved to take the campaign to other counties.
After Valentine’s Day, Smith is planning to set up booths at places such as Sam’s Club and Food Lion for people to make hearts for free while they’re out shopping.
Anyone who is interested in participating in Hearts for Law Enforcement or wishes to set up a drop-off location should contact Smith at 919-440-5101, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.