Louise Cummings is grateful for many things in life – including the love of her eight-year-old daughter, the memories of her marriage to Delaware State Trooper Cpl. Stephen Ballard, and the strong support of family and friends.
But it’s also been a tough three years since her husband was killed in the line-of-duty in April 2017. Cummings is trying to stay positive, deeply involved in the community and focused on significant charity work.
Some of her work includes creating Ballard’s Reading Buddies in partnership with United Way of Delaware, taking on a big role with Supporting Kidds in Hockessin, which supports children and families that are grieving the loss of a loved one, and creating the Ballard Community Fund at the Delaware Community Foundation.
Her volunteer work now includes raising funds for personal protective equipment (PPE) for law enforcement officers.
“I will say honestly my strengths come first from God. And then second, as a mom, and having a daughter to raise. I believe that everyone has a purpose. And I believe that things aren’t coincidental — whether it’s good or bad,” she shared with us today.
Cummings started a Go-Fund-Me initiative with the goal of raising $15,000 for PPE. So far, she’s raised over $10,000 that has provided face shields to police agencies across the state.
“On the third anniversary of my husband’s death, I felt I had to do something to make sure our law enforcement professionals were protected against this deadly virus,” Cummings said. “Given who he was and how young he was, and what he did and what he could have done but did not have a chance to do, and with me now being able to open doors and now help so many other people in his name and through the tragedy — I truly believe it’s part of God’s plan,” said Cummings.
“My goal is to care for our law enforcement officers the way I would have wanted my husband to be cared for during such a challenging time.”
So far, the Delaware State Police, and agencies including Capitol Police and University of Delaware Police, Wilmington, Clayton, Middletown, Smyrna, Georgetown and Dover, have benefited from Cummings’ fundraising.
Most recently, the Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA) Police Department received a donation of sixty-five face shields thanks to Cummings. All DRBA officers are now equipped with N-95 respirator masks, nitrile disposable gloves, and face shields.
“Of course my goal was to make sure the state police were taken care of first since my husband worked for the state and his three year anniversary of his line of duty death was April 26, 2017. So it seemed the right way to honor him since our benefit was postponed,” said Cummings, referring to an event she’s held each year to honor her husband.
To date she has distributed 767 face shields across the state. “That’s what has made this fundraiser so special to me — connecting with and helping various agencies, some of which I wasn’t yet familiar with,” she said.
Cummings said the response to her fundraising drive has been inspiring, with friends, strangers and local companies chipping in to support the PPE purchases.
“I reached out to my contact at Wawa and told them about the initiative, as I know they are very big community supporters. So I wanted see if they wanted to be involved as it was approaching the three year anniversary of Stephen’s death at the Wawa in Bear,” she said.
Wawa came through with a $2000 donation, saying in an email to Cummings, the funds were “in Corporal Ballard’s honor and to show our appreciation for all our Delaware Law Enforcement.”
Cummings’ fundraising campaign, can be found at www.gofundme.com/f/honorballardcovid19, has raised more than $8,000 to purchase and distribute PPE to law enforcement professionals in Delaware.
The Wilmington lawyer is coordinating with Hardwire LLC, a Maryland vendor that is providing the face shields at bulk pricing.