By Morgan Bryce

BackTheBadge Lee County is holding a benefit and shopping expo July 19 at Opelika’s Village Event Center to raise money for family members of the three Auburn police officers involved in the May 19 shooting.
One-hundred percent of the event’s proceeds will be shared evenly among Evan Elliott and Webb Sistrunk and their families as well as wife and children of the deceased William Buechner.
“Being married to the badge, I understand that a lot of them need encouragement given what has happened here in Lee County this year. (Through this event), we really hope to help meet some of their needs and build a (stronger bond) between the community and our local law enforcement,” said BackTheBadge Director Vickie McLeroy.
More than 80 vendors representing direct sellers and local businesses have already signed on to participate in the event, according to McLeroy. Shoppers can also expect a bake sale, door prize giveaway and silent auction and be able to place cash donations inside a wishing well.
There will be activities for children during the event, including coloring as well as music and dancing with officers in attendance. McLeroy encourages first responders and local law enforcement present to visit a painted rock wall and take home a rock bearing an uplifting message.
Vendor spots are still available, at a cost of $100 per table with a door prize donation or $125 per table with the same features but electrical access included. Participating vendors will receive promotion on social media in the days prior to the event.
To become a vendor or request more information, call McLeroy at 334-787-0252. More updates will be posted on the “BackTheBadge Lee County” Facebook page.