Hundreds gather for Back the Blue to support law enforcement

Hundreds turned out in downtown Franklin on Saturday, July 25, for Back the Blue, an event organized to show support for law enforcement and their families. For more, see page 12. Photo by Betsey Gooder

Brittney Lofthouse – Contributing Writer

Tuesday morning, a Haywood County Sheriff’s Deputy was sent to the hospital after being shot on a call near Canton. The deputy, along with other members of law enforcement were responding to a call of a disturbance involving a rifle. As soon as law enforcement arrived on scene, the suspect opened fire and struck a deputy before being fatally shot. Just days prior, Haywood County residents were among a crowd of hundreds of people from across WNC who met in Franklin for the first annual Back the Blue event.   

The event was co-hosted by Macon County Sheriff Robert Holland and resident Sandy Hughes, who had the idea to host an appreciation event for law enforcement and their families. Hundreds walked up Main Street, holding signs in support of law enforcement and simply thanking them for their service. 

Sheriff Holland said that when Hughes approached him about the event, he was instantly on board and thought it would be a great way to honor the lives of fallen officers, something that typically occurs every May in Franklin. 

“Because we weren’t able to host our Law Enforcement Memorial event this year because of COVID19, I wanted to take this opportunity to honor those who gave their lives in the line of duty,” said Holland. 

Holland read off the names of fallen North Carolina officers before Highlands Police Chief Andrea Holland and Franklin Police Chief Bill Harrell laid a memorial wreath in their honor.

Every Macon County Commissioner was present for some portion of the event to show their appreciation. The event also saw the likes of House Representative Kevin Corbin, Senator Jim Davis, and candidates for Congressional District 11 Moe Davis and Madison Cawthorn, each taking time to share their gratitude for law