Painting the thin blue line: Explorers create fundraiser for competition

Published 10:00 am Friday, October 7, 2016

In an effort to help their team cover the cost for attending Winterfest in February, the Boyle County Sheriff’s Explorers are turning to a creative fundraiser, and one to show support for those in emergency services.

The Boyle County Sheriff’s Explorers program is for high school-aged students in Boyle and surrounding counties who have an interest in law enforcement

Kendra Peek/ Tyler Gardner

Kendra Peek/
Tyler Gardner, chief explorer, shows off the finished product.

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It starts with a wooden board in the hands of Boyle County Chief Deputy Chris Stratton, who cuts the 16×6 Kentucky shapes for the students.


Under the watchful eye of Stratton and School Resource Officer Ricky Sellers, the students paint the boards solid black. With a little tape involved, the lines are painted on, blue for law enforcement, but they plan to expand (red for fire fighters, white for EMS, yellow for dispatch, gray for state police), Sellers said.

“We can customize them to just about anything,” Stratton said, meaning they can add names, badge numbers and more to the boards.

Students will add ribbons tn the boards, the last step in sending them off to their new homes. Boards are $10 and will help the kids make the journey to Winterfest in February.

Winterfest is the big competitive conference held annually in Gatlinburg wheres students get a chance to show off what they’ve been working on, when they’re not doubling as a painting crew.

“It’s fun,” said Senior Training Advisor Michael Minge. “You get to meet new people.”

“It’s a great experience every single time,” said Administrative Sargent Caitlynn Chumbley. “You learn new techniques to bring back to teach everyone else who wasn’t able to make it.”

Both Minge and Chumbley have been twice to the event, where Boyle County was able to place each time.

So far, they’ve been able to finish more than 12 boards, all of which were already committed, said Chief Explorer Tyler Gardner, who helped bring the idea back around this year. It had been one that had been discussed in the past, he said, and he went to bat for it this year, because he thought it would be a good way to raise funds.

Orders are being taken up by the Explorers at Boyle County High School, at the sheriff’s office, and by emailing Stratton,, or Sellers,

Follow Kendra Peek on Twitter, @knpeek.


Boards are available through the Boyle County Explorers program or by contacting Boyle County Chief Deputy Chris Stratton at or School Resource Officer Ricky Sellers at

The boards are $10 and are painted to represent an emergency services branch.

They can also be customized with the name and badge number.

The students will be set up in Perryville on Saturday, taking orders for boards and potentially selling pre-made ones.