A nine-foot tree outside Fairfax County’s Public Safety Headquarters is not only celebrating the holidays but honoring those who served.
“The cumulative impact of stress from being a first responder starts to creep up on you,” said Fairfax County Police Chief Ed Roessler.
Two years ago, stress caught up with the Chief after some of his friends died in the line of duty and by suicide. “I was ashamed to talk about it until 2017,” the Chief said.
To honor the fallen, the Fairfax County Police Association put up the tree, which was donated by the Merrifield Garden Center.
The tree has 330 blue ornaments and 176 red ornaments to represent the number of suicide and line of duty deaths nationally in 2019 among law enforcement and fire and rescue.
A gold and silver ornament represents the suicides by 911 dispatchers and call-takers.