A six-foot, blue-lit wreath adorned with 12 white ornaments shines out from the Bucks County Administration Building in Doylestown. It’s an illustrious site. Proud yet humble; stout yet reticent.
But for its location – hanging today from ground-floor windows instead of the third-floor rotunda where renovations are underway – there’s really nothing new about this laurel displayed at Christmas. And that’s just right.
It’s the Project Blue Light Memorial Wreath remembering the 12 Bucks County law-enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty since 1914. Thankfully, there were no new white ornaments added this year.
“We all tend to live in a bubble,” said county District Attorney Matthew D. Weintraub. “And we get to live in that bubble safely, and go shopping, see our kids in pageants, celebrate at office parties and go about our daily lives. They are keeping us safe every day.”
An 11th annual ceremony recently was held in Doylestown and led by Upper Southampton Township Police Chief Ronald MacPherson, president of the Police Chief’s Association of Bucks County.
While Bucks police had no on-duty deaths in 2019, more than 160 law enforcement officers perished nationwide. Said county Commissioner Charles H. Martin: “It’s a real tribute to all of our law enforcement people and their families for what they do each day. It’s a pleasure to honor those who, when there’s a problem, will rush toward the problem and not away from it.”
Project Blue Light is a nationwide observance begun 30 years ago by Dolly Craig of Philadelphia. In 1988, she placed two blue candles in the window of her home to honor son-in-law Daniel Gleason, a Philadelphia police office killed in the line of duty that year, and one for her daughter, Pam, who was Gleason’s wife, killed in an auto accident that year. They had six children.
“Since that time, the blue light has come to symbolize the peacemakers that protect us every day,” said MacPherson. “In Bucks County we have had 12 fallen officers including a constable, sheriffs and a park ranger.”
Those honored on Bucks County’s wreath are: Doylestown Borough Constable Henry H. Kolbe, 1914; Bucks County Sheriff Abram L. Kulp, 1927; Dublin Borough Police Chief Eli Myers, 1965; Bristol Township Police Detective George F. Stuckey, 1972; Bensalem Township Police Officer James K. Armstrong, 1975; Bensalem Township Police Officer Robert N. Yezzi, 1980; Bucks County Deputy Sheriff Thomas A. Bateman, 1986; Bucks County Deputy Sheriff George M. Warta Jr., 1986; Bucks County Park Ranger Stanley E. Flynn, 1993; Plumstead Township Police Officer Joseph E. Hanusey III, 2002; Newtown Borough Police Officer Brian S. Gregg, 2005, and Middletown Township Police Officer Christopher C. Jones, 2009.