Paint-and-sip takes Monroe police, spouses off duty


It was an opportunity for law enforcement officers and their spouses to take a break from their everyday stress to enjoy a selection of tasty craft ale and savory snacks ' all while twirling a paintbrush.-á

Monroe residents Lorena Lee and Elani Moody coordinated last week's law enforcement paint-and-sip event at Monroe's Route 2 Taproom & Grazing Place, which celebrated law enforcement officers while raising money for the Behind the Badge Foundation. Moody and Lee invited roughly 30 officers and spouses to participate, encouraging them to make it a date night.

Once the evening was underway, Moody facilitated the painting portion of the event, circling the venue and pausing at each table to help her guests create their art.

Lee knows firsthand what being in law enforcement is all about. She works for the Department of Corrections and her husband is a Bellevue police officer. The two have lived in Monroe for about 10 years, and love how supportive Monroe residents are of their police department.-á

"That's why I wanted to bring it to the community, because it's very supportive of law enforcement,GÇ¥ Lee said. "It's safe. Our lives are kind of on display always, and it's nice to know that we can just go somewhere and be safe.GÇ¥

Lee and Moody accomplished the law enforcement paint-and-sip with help from the Route 2 Taproom, which agreed to host the event for a nominal fee.


The idea was born after Lee commissioned Moody to create a piece of art that would represent the families of law enforcement in a new way. She was interested in something that was more abstract and imaginative than the commonly rendered American Flag that incorporates the symbolic thin blue line. Meant to represent the camaraderie of law enforcement officers, the thin blue line has become an emblem signifying support, and is not only displayed by officers, but by members of the public.-á

Vehicles in Monroe have been observed with a strip of blue tape across the back windshield, to demonstrate solidarity with police.

Lee knew she wanted the blue line featured in the art.

"I wanted something that would incorporate the thin blue line, but more subtle,GÇ¥ she said.

Moody took Lee's vision and ran with it.-á

The painting features a cluster of birds, each representing a member of her family, resting on wires extending from a telephone pole. She added a date on the telephone pole ' the year her family was established ' and the blue line is incorporated as the wire on which the birds are perched.-á

"The telephone pole is what keeps the family grounded and connected. The thin blue line is included, which represents the brotherhood of law enforcement,GÇ¥ Moody said. "I chose three wires because when you combine three chords it is the strongest combination.GÇ¥

The great thing about the concept, said Lee and Moody, is that it can be personalized to represent any family. The number of birds can fluctuate or the background color can change, Moody said.

Lee said she appreciated the opportunity to interact with so many law enforcement spouses, and enjoyed the instant camaraderie she felt.-á

"I know that our struggles in our daily lives are exactly the same, and so you don't have to pretend to be someone you're not. You don't have to pretend that everything's hunky-dory when maybe it's not,GÇ¥ Lee said. "This is a way for us all to come together and have fun and create art that represents our family.GÇ¥

Moody regularly facilitates paint-and-sip events at Route 2. She said she loved the idea of using her skills as an artist to honor law enforcement. Her brother-in-law, Ryan Moody, was a Monroe Police officer for many years, she said.

"I feel so blessed because this is my passion,GÇ¥ Moody said. "To be able to take my passion and then hopefully inspire others and bless others and then be able to give back ' I feel like not everybody's so lucky to be able to do that.GÇ¥

The event raised more than $300 for Behind the Badge.

The Behind the Badge Foundation is a nonprofit agency dedicated to supporting families and communities in the event of a line-of-duty death or when an officer becomes seriously injured.

The organization is multifaceted, providing nearly instantaneous support once an incident occurs, helping families, police agencies and communities cope with the loss.

Monroe Police Sgt. Brian Johnston ' also the foundation president ' attended the event, along with Behind the Badge volunteer Meg DiBucci of the Everett Police Department.

As a nonprofit, Behind the Badge is dependent on donations, holding numerous fundraisers throughout the year. The paint-and-sip event was special, Johnston said, because it was entirely community based.

"This is grassroots at its best,GÇ¥ Johnston said. "This is not only fundraising, this is friend-raising.GÇ¥

"Friend-raising,GÇ¥ is exactly what Moody and Lee were trying to accomplish. One of the reasons the two were compelled to create the event was to provide law enforcement officers and their families with a positive display of support, particularly in light of recent scrutinizing of law enforcement in other parts of the country.

From events like the paint-and-sip to receiving notes of support to seeing the blue line across somebody's rear windshield, it's all incredibly meaningful, DiBucci said. She said she drives roughly 11 miles to and from work each day, and is heartened by every glimpse of blue tape.

"In the last two or three weeks, I can't go the short distance between home and work without seeing that blue tape across the window. It's fantastic,GÇ¥ DiBucci said. "Little things like that do make a difference.GÇ¥

For more information about the Behind the Badge Foundation, visit

Photos by Chris Hendrickson Each guest was outfitted with their own easel, paints and paintbrushes, during last weekGÇÖs law enforcement paint-and-sip event at MonroeGÇÖs Route 2 enforcement paint-and-sip founders Elani Moody and Lorena Lee show off the thin blue lined themed work of art created by Moody.


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