From Napkin to Chest, Commemorative 9/11 Badges a Hit


What started as a sketch on a napkin has turned into a national project for two San Diego police officers.

"Last year, we wanted to do something to remember the 10-year anniversary of 9/11, so my partner, Steve Willard, and I came up with commemorative badge," said Ed LaValle, co-founder of the 9-11 Tribute Project.

First responders in San Diego County wore the badge, but by word of mouth, it became so popular that other agencies have inquired about getting them.

"We now have inquires from eight different states and more calls are coming in," said LaValle.

Each agency has to authorize the wearing of the badge because it is a real badge.

"It's why my partner and I check credentials, get a copy of identification and verify the information before we produce a badge," LaValle said.

Each badge costs roughly $100 to make, with part of the proceeds designated for charity.

The badge has a symbol of the bald eagle, whose wings touch the World Trade Center towers with the number 343 on one side and 71 on the other. One representing the number of firefighters killed in the Sept. 11, 2011, terrorist attacks, and the other the number of police officers from different agencies.

"As a first responder, our badge is a symbol of our authority or our responsibility, and to wear a badge like this unites us and reinforces what we do," LaValle said.

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