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Oak Creek Sikh Temple Honor Strap

By Anju Kaur, SikhNN staff writer, Washington Bureau
Posted: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 | 01:12 am

The Oak Creek, Wisconsin, police department has created a military-style bracelet to show solidarity with the Sikh community, and to raise some funds for the victims’ families.

Photo Source: survivalstraps.com

The Oak Creek, Wisconsin, police department has created a military-style bracelet to show solidarity with the Sikh community, and to raise some funds for the victims’ families.

“For those of you interested in showing your support to the Sikh community as well as the law enforcement officers who responded to the tragic incident on August 5 2012, the Oak Creek Police Department, in collaboration with the Sikh community and Survival Straps, (has) created the Oak Creek Sikh Temple Honor Strap,” the department’s Web site states, above a large image of the bracelet.

“Within couple of days (of the shooting), Capt. Michael Bolender, who was aware of the Survival Straps, suggested to me to see if he could put together a strap to show the cooperation between the Sikh community and the police department and first responders,” Police Chief John Edwards told SikhNN. “The intertwining shows that we are all working together.”

The bracelet has “three colors interwoven to signify the unity that this tragic incident has created,” the Web site says. The orange band represents the Sikh community, the blue band represents the law enforcement officers that responded to and supported operations throughout the entire incident, and the black band represents those who lost their lives or were injured “so they are honored and never forgotten.”

Capt. Bolender and his staff came up with the color scheme, said Michele Brown, sales coordinator for Survival Straps, in Florida. A part of the sales goes to the Sikh Temple Victims Fund. For sales quantities above 100 straps, 25 percent of the purchases goes to the fund. Each one costs $26.99.

During that first week, two days after the shooting on Sunday, there was a vigil on Tuesday, then a community-healing event leading to the funerals in Friday, Edwards said. The purpose of these events was to bring everyone together.

“This (bracelet) was our initiative,” he said. “It was something to put together to show support.” The gurdwara executives were notified of the project.

“Like the breast cancer bands, this shows support for the community,” said Kulwant Singh Dhaliwal, president of the gurdwara and a member of its board of trustees. “It serves two purposes” in also raising money. “It’s a worthwhile cause.”

The bracelet contains up to 15 feet of super-strong military paracord, which is used for rigging inside of military parachutes, the company says on its Web site. The bracelet can be unraveled to deploy for many other uses by the military and outdoor enthusiasts. And the stainless shackle adjusts on the wrist and contains a break-away safety feature.

Within a month of the tragedy, Bolender and the Survival Strap staff designed the bracelet and shipped the first order of 200 to the department, Edwards said. About 90 percent have been sold to its 85 employees.

“I bought four of them,” he added. “People bought them in multiples.”

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