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Citizens group planning peace officers appreciation

Judy Peik

After a career as a guardian ad litem for the Minnesota court system, Judy Peik knows just how important peace officers are to their communities.
So the Lake Marion resident became increasingly disturbed as news report after news report chronicled the shooting — and sometimes killing — of police officers across the nation.
“As a guardian ad litem, I got to know a lot of police officers,” Peik said. “Then I started hearing about all these police officers and deputies getting hurt and killed, and I thought I should do something to show some appreciation for our officers.”
And Peik doesn’t think she is alone in her feelings.
“I believe there’s a lot of people who feel the same way, who’d like to show their appreciation. And I decided to create an opportunity to do that.”
What Peik envisioned was an evening in which law enforcement officers and residents could come together for a meal, a little entertainment and a couple of brief speakers. But, mostly, just a chance for citizens to intermingle on a face-to-face basis with the officers who serve and protect them.
She and her stepson, Kyle Peik, came up with the idea of forming a group called “McLeod Citizens Beside the Badge,” and set out to find one person from each community in the county to be on a planning committee.
“I tried to find people who would work hard to make this work,” said Peik. “We had our first meeting, and everyone seems enthused about it.”
The group has set the appreciation evening for Wednesday, June 22, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the McLeod County Fairgrounds.
The committee, which has now met twice, is working on fundraising, finding an emcee and entertainment and food donations, with a hot dog and chips meal planned for the night.

For more about the appreciation night, see the April 20 print edition of The Chronicle.