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Ogden man makes wooden badge for fallen Colorado officer

Posted at 9:42 PM, Sep 13, 2022

OGDEN, Utah — Members of a Colorado community are remembering the life of an officer who died in the line of duty.

Officer Dillon Vakoff was killed Sunday morning. Since then, the community has rallied around the Arvada Police Department and Vakoff’s family.

After hearing the news, a man in Ogden began making a special piece of art for the family of the slain officer.

“When I hear about these things, I want to help,” Nate Eye said. “I want to try to make a little bit of a difference in their life.”

Eye makes signs, guitars, furniture, and everything in between — but one of the most personally meaningful things he works on are large badges for fallen officers.

“I started woodworking about 15 years ago. My father was a woodworker. What I love most about woodworking is I love taking something special and unique and creating a memory with it,” he said. "I started doing badges about seven or eight years ago. The first badge I donated to a fallen officer was for Unified Police Officer Doug Barney. I've done hundreds of these now, and I guess it's just become a part of me now.”

Vakoff was called to check the well-being of two kids Sunday morning when a person opened fire, killing the officer.

“A lot of times when I'm building these badges, there's a lot of emotions that that come through me,” Eye said. “It’s a very sobering feeling, building a fallen officer's police badge.”

He has carved badges for families all over the country.

“I hope that the family of Officer Vakoff can hang this somewhere special where they can look at it 10-15 years down the road and remember that sacrifice that he made for his community," Eye said.

Creating these badges is not an easy task, however. Eye has until Wednesday to finish it and get it to some friends of his, who will drive it out to Colorado and give it to Vakoff's family. It will be a part of his funeral services.

“This badge represents a massive sacrifice to this community,” Eye said, "And to be able to put that in a piece of wood and present it to his family, that's cool to me.”

His daughter even helps pitch in with a message of her own to the officer's family

“I'm sorry that someone in your family died," she said. "We made this for you so you guys can put a smile on your face.”

As a community a state away deals with a tragedy, Eye keeps working — hoping to give what he can and bring peace to Vakoff’s family.

“Keep fighting. There are a lot of us that care, and there's a lot of us that have your backs, and there's a lot of us that are very grateful for what you do for the community,” Eye said. "We're watching and... we're sending our love from Utah.”

Donations can be made to Vakoff’s family through the Colorado Fallen Hero Fund.