Justin Collins - 2016 ESL Jefferson Award Winner

March 30, 2018 01:28 PM

All week we will be honoring this year’s ESL Jefferson Award winners. The award recognizes those who volunteer their time to make our community a better place. 

The Badge of Honor Association is dedicated to fallen or injured officers and their families. Justin Collins started the first chapter in Rochester, and now there are seven chapters. The association covers 24 counties in upstate New York, with volunteers running everything.


The Badge of Honor Association gets visibility because of signs dedicated to law enforcers killed in the line of duty. But founder, Sgt. Justin Collins, says it's more than signs.

“We raise money for police officers that are killed in the line of duty in 24 counties across upstate NY and we also raise funds for officers injured in a critical incidents, like a shooting or an assault, a serious accident.” Collins says. 

One sign was dedicated to a fellow Rochester police officer, so raising money for it and organizing the dedication ceremony was really personal.

“It was different when it was someone who was wearing my uniform,” says Collins. “That person could very well be me. It could be anybody who works here, so when you see your uniform in that situation, it hits home.”

Rebecca Jaffarian nominated Sgt. Collins for an E-L Jefferson Award after volunteering at the Policemen's Ball and witnessing Collin’s dedication to fellow law enforcement officers everywhere.

“I don't think you are going to meet another person as passionate about the mission.” says Jaffarian.

Through Badge of Honor, Collins also raises money for children's charities and gets officers to volunteer their time at events for kids. “They know the kids they meet at that basketball game or that reading event could be a kid they meet on the street and they can make a positive impact.”

Collins says “Now more than ever, it seems like people are trying to paint police officers as the bad guys, and I got into this job to be one of the good guys.”

Since Collins started the Badge of Honor Association, volunteers have installed 140 signs around upstate New York. If you'd like to volunteer or donate to Badge of Honor, you can learn more at their website.


Rebecca Leclair

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