By: Allen Wallace, Midlands Anchor
Kassy Alia, founder and CEO of Heroes in Blue, stood at the scene of a tragedy Monday and announced the newest phase of her effort to bring good from that sadness.
Heroes in Blue officially took on a new name with Monday’s ceremony at Richland Mall, site of the death in the line of duty of Forest Acres Police Officer Greg Alia, Kassy Alia’s husband, in 2015. Returning to the mall was not an easy thing for Kassy Alia, but she felt it was an important one.
“We want to redefine this place from something tragic to a symbol of strength and healing,” she said.
Now known as Serve and Connect, the organization will focus on building better bridges between police and the communities they serve and are part of. Kassy Alia said the name change is an effort to depict the mission more clearly.
“Heroes in Blue was created to highlight the outstanding acts of service that happen everyday and sometimes went unnoticed, but if we want to end divisiveness, it’s going to take more than that,” she said.
Kassy Alia was joined by representatives of law enforcement agencies and other community leaders from all over the Midlands. Forest Acres Police Chief Gene Shealy officially unveiled the organization’s new name and logo.
“We believe when police and community work together, lives are better,” said Ryan Alphin, executive director of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers’ Association. “Thank you to everyone who didn’t stop believing that there’s a better world out there waiting for us to fight for it.”
Kassy Alia reflected on the day of her husband’s funeral. Rain fell that day, the rain which would build and cause the October 2015 floods. Monday, though far more gently, it rained again.
Within hours [of the funeral],a police department in mourning was called to serve the community,” she said. “I think the rain today is Greg smiling down on us.”