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WINTERSVILLE — What began as a way for Mayor Michael Petrella to express gratitude to the village’s police department has evolved into a chance for others to do the same.
Petrella stated that he had approached Rich and Sharen Gunther, proprietors of Grit Gear Apparel on Cadz Road, about creating custom T-shirts for Wintersville Police Department officers.
The local firm specializes in silk-screened T-shirts and long-sleeved shirts that frequently show pride in the United States, its liberties, and its military, in addition to offering hand-embroidered ballcaps and other items.
Rich Gunther, upon hearing Petrella’s request, responded, “Why don’t we sell them in the store and donate a portion of the revenue to the police department?”
The couple offers two distinct black T-shirt styles: One features the word “honor” with a blue slash through it.
Inspired by the color of the uniforms used by many law enforcement officials in the past, a solid blue line has come to symbolize all those who work in that area.
The insignia on the front of the other shirt reads, “I Support Wintersville Police.” On the back of the t-shirt is an American flag-inspired pattern interwoven with a blue line and the phrase “Support the Blue.”
Rich Gunther stated that, as long as the shirts are sold, 25 percent of each sale would be donated to the local police department. The shirts cost either $25.76 or $27.76, depending on size.
The police department will also gain from the sale of a vinyl sticker of the symbol that can be placed on vehicles, windows, and other objects.
Petrella stated, “As a little business, it is really generous of them to do this.”
He continued, “It’s an excellent development. We have a tiny department, so any support we may receive is very appreciated.”
Likewise, Village Police Chief Lou Vandeborne expressed gratitude.
He stated that the news media portray cops in a bad manner far too frequently.
“It’s fantastic to have a local company supporting us,” said Vandeborne.
He also urged everyone to support small local companies, citing the numerous ways in which they have benefited their communities.
Grit Gear, according to Rich Gunther, has supported fundraisers for Wintersville Fire and Rescue, Indian Creek High School, and the Thunder in the Ville festival, as well as Wheelchairs for Warriors, the Warrior Shield Foundation, and other organizations that support veterans, especially those who have been injured in the line of duty.