Saturday, November 19, 2011


Marion Pellicano Ambrose
John Pasko has a way about him. He’s totally involved in many amazing causes and somehow, once you've met him - “poof” you’re on the board of this cause and assisting with that one! You don’t remember how it happened or when, all you know is that you’re working with wonderful people on awesome projects and you’re happy!
That’s how I became involved with the American Police Hall of Fame, and now, with Families of the Shield.

John invited me to some fabulous events, including a golf tournament to honor my late husband and raise money for a scholarship to the police academy. The organization he founded called “Families of the Shield” organizes many such events and helps countless numbers of people, not only police families, but all first responders and military families as well. The truth is, John and Families of the Shield reach out to anyone in need! (Bikers for Babies, 9-11 Remembrance Ride, Family Fun Day, Raising funds for children with serious illnesses. The list goes on.)

My latest adventure, thanks to John, was helping to plan, shop for materials, and decorate a 9 foot Christmas tree for the Families of the Shield at the Annual Festival of Trees at the Maxwell King Center for the Performing Arts in Melbourne. This annual fundraiser allows the Junior League of South Brevard, Inc. to continue improving our community through financial and volunteer commitments in Brevard County.  Our tree entitled “To Protect and Serve” had to be elegant, beautiful, but most importantly, meaningful. The lady who came up with the idea of participating in the festival was Wendy. She’s a little powerhouse of energy- Tiny but Mighty!  John paired the two of us up, gave us a budget and let us go.
We each had our own idea of what we wanted as a design for the tree before we even met to talk about it. Amazingly, our sketches, color scheme, even the design for a special St. Michael the Archangel star matched up! We shopped, wired, cut, hot glued, planned and downed coffee and muffins until the day of set up came.
With the help of one of Wendy’s tall friends, our dream tree came to life.

  • Cobalt Blue and silver ornaments to represent all those who wear the shield and their families.
  • Cobalt Blue ribbon  woven through the tree to represent that “Thin Blue Line”(The line separating society from anarchy, the line police are sworn to uphold.)
  • 141 crystal angels represent the 141 police officers who died in the line of duty so far this year.
  • A chain of crystal “tears” represents the connection of all who wear the shield and the tears spilled for those we've lost.
  • A crystal 3D star with a decoupage of Saint Michael the Archangel tops the tree - the patron saint of police officers overlooking all.
  • A blue and silver bow with ribbon flowing down the sides like the arms of God.

Beside the tree is a coat rack with an NYPD uniform jacket and hat hung on it and a little table with a silver framed document telling the meaning as explained here. It was truly a labor of love and helped forge a new friendship for me.

What does John have in mind next? It’s anyone’s guess, but I’m sure Wendy and I will be involved as well as the many other people who are privileged to be called “Families of the Shield”.It could be a rally, a fun day for kids, a fundraiser for someone in need, a parade or some kind of extravaganza, but whatever it is -BRING IT ON JOHN, WE'RE READY!

For more information on Families of the Shield, visit!/pages/John-A-Pasko-Families-of-the-Shield-Inc/136474126389464?sk=info

1 comment:

  1. What amazing things you do! Kudos to all of you involved with "Families of the Shield"! What a beautiful tribute. I will share the link with a classmate of mine - her husband is one of the 141 from this year. Like the others and you - her life will never be the same. May our Lord bring you all strength and comfort in all the days of your unfinished journey, may you always feel the one who has gone before you in your heart!

    Thank you Marion for sharing so many wonderful things with us at DRL and opening your big heart to all of us! You never cease to amaze me - I am proud to know you and honored to call you friend! <3 <3 <3