A challenge from the City of Cedartown to help build morale during the holiday season became a chance for local police officers to honor those who have fallen across the country in shootings.
And to honor one of their own who died this year as well.
Cedartown Police Chief Jamie Newsome said Monday night said all of the city departments worked to make their own Christmas trees for the lobby entrance of city hall in past weeks, and that he and Assistant Chief Greg Cooper sat down to come up with an idea for a law enforcement themed tree.
"The idea hit me and Greg at the same time," Newsome said. "So we decided to put together a tree honoring law enforcement officers who have been killed in the line of duty in 2016."
Newsome turned to a website he keeps track of regularly, the Officer Down Memorial Page, where he gathered pictures of each officer who has been killed in 2016. Cooper and his daughter took the photos and pictures of badges or patches from each agency and made decorations with them, adding blue lights and a few officers from Polk County's past who have been killed in the line of duty.
Those were: William T. McCown, John H. Buckner, Edward W. Jones, Bill Tanner, Frank E. Lott and Don F. Langston.
Newsome and Cooper included a picture of Officer Joy Nolen, who passed away in October 2016. She is nestled between a pair of angel wings at the top of the tree.
"People often forget that everyone of these officers were a husband or wife, a lost mother or father, or daughter or son," Newsome said. "There's a real human behind all of those who have been killed."
He said the tree has been getting a good amount of attention on Facebook, which he said was good to bring more awareness to those who have been killed while serving in police departments across the country.
It also meant the tree as overwhelmingly took most of the votes in the city contest, which Newsome said is mainly a friendly affair.
"It's hit a nerve with a lot of people in town," he said.