The morning of July 2nd was just another Monday for me. I made a cup of coffee, sat down to the table with a bowl of sugary cereal, and hopped on facebook for the morning scroll. One news report caught my eye: “Large police presence on scene of shooting in Corning, reports say.” No details had been released yet, I continued to scroll. A short while later my Mom texts me and mentions it, asked me if I knew anything about it. I said no. I can’t remember exactly how she texted it, but she said that the trooper rumored to have been shot was Nick Clark. The rest of the morning is a haze but I remember calling my husband and talking to him about it. Then the reports started to come in and it was confirmed, Trooper Nicholas Clark was shot and killed by a suicidal school principle in the early hours of July 2, 2018. The suspect was also dead.
I grew up in a very small town, population just over 2,000. Our school merged with another one the year I graduated and our senior class was still less than 100. What I’m trying to illustrate is the fact that everyone knows everyone, so when Nick was killed, it rocked our little valley. So much outpouring of grief, sadness, love, memories shared… so many people showed their support of Nick and the rest of the blue family by re-telling stories, sharing pictures, lighting up their FB pages with blue, putting a blue light on their porch, it goes on. We weren’t in the same class at school and we weren’t even good friends but I was still affected by the loss of Nick – the same as the entire community and entire law enforcement family.
I can remember the crushing feeling my heart felt when I thought of his family, of his mother. I can’t even describe in words the sadness I felt for her. I was compelled to find a way to honor Nick’s memory and support his family. My idea was to design a hat that represents those who stand behind the “thin blue line” and sell it, with profits being donated to his family. After I said it out loud I immediately doubted myself and thought I couldn’t do it. But that lasted 2 seconds, because why not? I asked God if that’s what he would have me do and before I knew it I was knitting away. There was a reason I had that day off of work, and this was it.
It didn’t take very long, and the post was live on facebook at 10:18am. https://www.facebook.com/rdpknits/posts/1258325800970081
The orders poured in. I was so completed stunned at the amount of people who wanted to show their support. I figured I’d sell a few hats but by the end of it, close to 100 orders were taken and I had to close.
Three sizes were offered as well as a choice between a plain blue stripe or a stripe with glitter. A few fellow knitters even volunteered to help me make these hats which was so awesome of them to donate their time (and one of them purchased the yarn she used) to help make these hats! I work full time and long days so through the remaining of the summer and early fall months I took this hat everywhere with me. It made many appearances on my lunch breaks, gymnastic practices, church, and other outings. It took a good hot minute but the last hat was finally completed mid November. 86 total hats were made, and $1,500 was donated to the Signal 30 Fund of the Police Benevolent Association of the New York State Troopers to directly support the family of Trooper Clark.
One of the buyers suggested I create a hashtag for everyone to use once they began sharing photos of them in their hats. Those tags are:
#hatsofftrooperclark and #nickclarkthinbluelinehat . Seeing them share their hats gives me great satisfaction. They are showing their support for the police family as well as Nick and it’s truly humbling that I could put my granny skill of knitting to good use.
Once the knitting was finished I went to work writing all of my notes down and I published a pattern so you can make your own thin blue line hat. You can find the pattern in both my Ravelry store and Etsy shop.
Rest In Peace Trooper Clark.