It’s been almost a year since we shared an update on Tinley, law enforcement’s biggest supporter, who is near and dear to our hearts. Tinley has captured the hearts of many, especially our law enforcement officers, through her warm hugs and sweet smiles.
I spoke to Tinley’s mom, Jamie, to get an update and received some good news. Joe, Tinley’s dad, was coming home from the hospital. His homecoming was scheduled for February 5th, and after spending several weeks in the hospital Tinley’s family was anxious about getting him back home. Tinley’s dad was diagnosed with a brain tumor over a year ago and the whole family was struggling with the prognosis but in spite of it all, Tinley managed to put on a happy face and share a smile.
On September 15, 2018, Tinley joined the Ellis Grove and Chester Fire Department in Illinois who teamed up for a Jeep rally, Jeepin’ for JIB, to benefit The James Brockmeyer Memorial Fund. This fund was created to assist first responders in memory of Officer/Firefighter James Brockmeyer who died in the line of duty on October 28, 2016. Tinley helped James Brockmeyer’s family sell raffle tickets during the event. Tinley has never missed a fundraiser in honor of her friend, Officer Brockmeyer.
The month of October was a busy time for Tinley. She joined the many supporters on October 7, 2018 for the 13th Annual Jeremy Chambers Golf Tournament. All gift donations went to a great organization called the Hero 101 Fund. Earl Chamber started the fund after his son Jeremy Chambers of Cahokia Il. P.D. was killed in the line of duty in 2006 due to an intoxicated driver. The family named the fund Hero 101 after Jeremy’s badge number.
The Hero 101 Fund provides support and equipment to police officers, firefighters and EMS in Madison, St. Clair and Monroe counties of Illinois, as well as the St. Louis area in Missouri. Their mission is to “help those who keep us safe”. Tinley showed her support by handing out bracelets and giving out her famous hugs. She made great memories by having the players on the golf course stand in hilarious poses while her mom took pictures. Two days later, Tinley was invited to the St. Louis County Department in Missouri to meet everyone. She brought bracelets donated by Thin Blue Line USA and handed them out to all the officers. Additionally, Tinley attended K9 training with the department where she watched the handlers hide materials in a chemistry lab at a local high school for the K9’s to find and also had the opportunity to watch the K9s during their bite work.
For police dogs, bite mechanics include a full, hard, and firm (no side-to-side movement) grip, as well as countering/pushing behavior when on the grip. These are among the first lessons taught to police dogs in training programs. Tinley has grown to love one of the K9s, named Blitz. She met Blitz at a K9 demo during a police parade and rally in Kimmswick Missouri. Blitz is a Belgian Malinois, which is a very popular breed used for police dogs. Sgt. Jerry Abernathy, who is Blitz’s handler, lets Tinley hold his leash and sit next to him during her visits. He also lets Tinley participate in scent work by putting an object in her armpit and hiding it for Blitz to find. Tinley loves rewarding Blitz with lots of petting that sparks his tail wagging and his happy disposition in her hands.
October was filled with K9 training but she managed to pay a visit to the Madison County Sheriff’s Department on October 22nd where she gave the chief a Thin Blue Line American flag and some bracelets. On October 26th, she visited Cape Girardeau in Missouri and had a photo shoot with the department while wearing her swat costume. Tinley later changed into her her St. Michael’s gown costume. While at Cape Girardeau Department, she met up with Officer Amanda Roads who took her to a coffee shop. The coffee shop is called Ground-A-Bout and is located in Jackson, Missouri; the owner of the shop is a retired officer. Tinley donated a Thin Blue Line American Flag during her visit. Her last stop that day was at the Jackson Police Department, where she went on a tour and gave out bracelets.
Holiday plans were made with Sgt. Jerry Abernathy on December 21, 2018, which was a special day for Tinley. Her mother pulled her out of school early that day to take her to the Metro Transit Authority in her local town for the celebrations. Tinley did not know there was going to be a surprise visit from the K9 Unit. Much to her surprise 8 handlers and their K9s were at the party. Tinley later presented her K9 friends with homemade glass ornaments that she made for them.
On Christmas morning, Tinley wanted to head out early to her local police departments knowing many officers would be working that day. She gave away smiles, hugs, teddy bears, bracelets, flags and challenge coins to the Belleville Police Department, the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department, Shiloh Police Department and the Swansea Police Department. After making her 4 stops, the family headed back home so Tinley could open her gifts that were waiting for her under the tree. Tinley definitely holds the title queen of hearts. This thoughtful little girl is a sweetheart to so many. Jamie and Joe, Tinley’ parents, continue to support their daughter with her mission because they know it's important to her, but more importantly, they encourage her to show support and gratitude to our blue line family. Tinley’s journey is a great example of what a family’s love and support can translate into for the support of the law enforcement community. Tinley’s parents provide such a nourishing environment for her and are truly integral to her personal growth and development. No matter the obstacles that this family faces, nothing is more valuable to them than the idea of honoring those who walk the thin blue line. Their journey has become her journey and we are definitely along for the ride.