As the search continues for the six people missing in the private plane over Lake Erie last week the community is showing its support through blue bows.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Fleming and Casey families during this time,” said Powell Mayor Brian Lorenz. “Our community has come together by displaying blue ribbons on mailboxes, homes and more as a sign of support for the Fleming and Casey families.”
Since Sunday Michael’s Arts and Crafts on Dublin Granville Road has been busy with calls from customers for blue ribbon and bows. “Olentangy schools has picked up enough ribbon to make 200 bows,” said Pat Loveday, store manager. “It’s gone crazy.”
The Fleming and Casey families both reside in the Powell area.
The school district will have grief counselors and a school resource officer on hand as students return to class Wednesday from the winter break, said Krista Davis, Olentangy’s communications director.
Loveday said she went to other area Michael’s stores to pick up ribbon Sunday when they ran out so to continue making ribbons.
Jeanne Pears, store associate, is one of two people making bows for customers. She said it started with a woman who was a neighbor of one of the families. “A lady walked in and just burst into tears,” she said. “She was looking for blue ribbon.”
She hasn’t been the only one in the store with a personal connection to the families. “A boy came in who showed us a photo of the Casey girl,” Pear said. “He went to school with her.”
Pear said she has heard customers coming in to buy bows say “they were special people.”
Pear said, on Sunday there were always 3 to 4 customers standing at the counter and usually two calls on the phone to order bows. “It was worse than Christmas,” she said. “Yesterday the two of us made 100 to 150.”
Loveday said, they have gone to all the Columbus area Michael’s stores for ribbon and have exhausted their supplies. On Wednesday the district manager is going to the Cincinnati and Dayton stores.
“No one has a good quantity of Royal Blue ribbon,” she said. “We’re trying to keep the rack full.”
Area stores have been caught off guard with the sudden demand for blue ribbon and quantities are low for the product.
Monica Biro, store associate, is the other half of the bow making team with Pears. She said, people are buying ribbon and bows both in bulk. “We’ve had a lot of customers who shop here who also shop Hobby Lobby and Jo Ann Fabric,” Biro said. “They are both out of blue ribbon.”
“This just started and we’re still somewhat shell-shocked,” she said. “As long as they are still needing them, then we’ll make them.”
Loveday said they were making the bows at a reduced rate.
Liberty Township Trustee Shyra Eichhorn added her thoughts.
“Our prayers and love go out to the Fleming and Casey families,” Eichhorn said. “It’s absolutely devastating and no words can ease the pain. They will always be remembered.”
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.