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Artist’s work will support Shield-a-Badge prayer program

The Rowan County Shield-a-Badge prayer program is now selling art prints. In a collaboration between artist Robert Thomas of Stanly County and Chaplain Michael Taylor, prints depicting the power of prayer are available for those involved in the Shield-a-Badge program.

“I’m excited about it,” Taylor said, “It’s something I’ve never done before.”

The painting depicts four law enforcement officers representing law enforcement in Rowan County: a retired officer, a highway patrol trooper, a sheriff’s deputy and a Salisbury Police Department officer. The officers are approaching a vehicle with guns drawn, the hands of the Lord wrap around them as an image of a mother and her children praying floats above.

“I thought it’d be neat to come up with a painting to show what an officer goes through, what they face,” Taylor said.

Few people know the dangers law enforcement officers face every day, Taylor said. Being the chaplain for the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, Taylor hears the talk, and he wanted to depict the danger and uncertainty many in law enforcement experience when they receive a call, and the comfort prayers can bring.

“If we pray for them, I believe that God will honor our prayer requests and protect them,” he said.

The Rowan County branch of Shield-a-Badge has been running for more than 20 years. Those who sign up are assigned a sheriff’s deputy or other law enforcement officer and encouraged to pray for them every day.

“The greatest thing in the world that we can ever provide for anyone is prayer,” Taylor said.

Shield-a-Badge participants also send birthday and Christmas cards to the deputy or officer’s place of work. Taylor says he’s had several sheriff’s deputies approach him and say that when they receive a call, they wonder if their Shield-a-Badge participant has prayed for them that day. As far as he’s aware, Rowan County has the longest running Shield-a-Badge program in North Carolina.

Each year, Taylor tries to collect funds for the ministry. The funds are used to purchase small Christmas presents as well as other useful items that deputies and officers might not receive from their place of work. The new Shield-a-Badge painting is one way Taylor hopes to support the ministry. And it serves another important purpose: awareness and appreciation.

“People just don’t know the danger they face,” he said.

There are 500 signed and numbered 19-by-13-inch prints of the painting available. Taylor said that anyone is welcome to purchase them — to keep at home as a reminder to pray, or to give to a law enforcement officer they’d like to support. Prints are $55 each, and can be purchased by calling Taylor at 704-782-7201 or 704-467-5886.

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