UMATILLA — The city of Umatilla’s police department personnel welcomed a dozen members of Hermiston’s American Legion Post 37 and Auxiliary to their training session on Sept. 14.

The veterans organizations recently celebrated 100 years of supporting America’s veterans and jointly presented each UPD staff member with a Certificate of Appreciation and a cash gift.

“Since we cannot be on the front lines with you, we wanted to express our desire to defend the police, not to defund the police," Aaron Wetterling, the post’s chaplain, said to the UPD staff members.

Auxiliary President Cathy Stolz said UPD’s chief of police, Darla Huxel, is a member of the local unit of the American Legion Auxiliary.

“These veterans risked their lives to purchase our freedoms that you officers are enforcing," she said. "All of you are my heroes.”

After each staff member received a certificate of appreciation, they also received a warm handshake from the veterans and Auxiliary members. Then, by request, they gathered in the center of the room where the veterans and Auxiliary members encircled them for a short prayer of protection.

The gathering was an extension of a similar ceremony that American Legion members held at the Hermiston Police Department in late August.

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