GERMANTOWN – Like Johnny Cash with a badge and a holster, the all-black uniform of Montgomery County Police Department does little to tell the depth of artistry inherent to Officer Rose Borisow.
On Sunday night at the Germantown police station, Borisow received a large black quilt decorated with 400 police department badges from across the country and around the world acknowledging her for the countless hours she’s spent paying tribute to fallen first responders through her art.
Borisow gained recognition over the last two years for crafting hundreds of commemorative paintings featuring police, fire and rescue service members who die in the line of duty… and their fallen active duty dogs too.
Her work is seemingly unlimited in scope when it comes to first responders.
When she completes her 8:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. midnight shifts, she heads home and researches the latest first responders killed in action or died from natural causes while actively serving.
Once she decides which photos to include in her paints, Borisow spends roughly three or so hours completing her paintings, which often depict one or more saluting service members or animals acknowledging the deceased.
She self-finances her art, though she does fundraise too to help cover the cost of supplies and shipping along whatever she paints to the fallen’s department or surviving family.
It’s a call-to-duty that’s turned into its own unpaid seven-days-a-week unpaid job, now three years in the making.
“Last month was horrible. I think I was doing a piece a day for K9s or officers,” she said.
Her interest in art stems back to the pen and ink nature drawings.
She put down her pen and ink for years afterward but about five or six years ago, a trip to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. reinvigorated her creativity.
“It hit me that I could draw those lions honoring the police officers,” she said.
As Facebook became more popular as a social media outlet, Borisow beg
Along with a scrapbook compiled by Caleanna Morley, the 28-year police department veteran received praise both from the quilt’s maker, mounted police volunteer Kim Cuoco of Pennsylvania, and Borisow’s district commander, Dave Gillespie, a thank-you cake for honoring those who serve.
Unbeknown to Borisow, Cuoco put up her own Facebook page asking for police departments to send patches to her while she made the quilt. The two met for the first time in person Sept an using it as a means to keep tabs on officers who died in the line of duty.
Once she posted online her artistic salutes to those who died in the United States, Canada and elsewhere, word spread quickly to other departments across the country.
. 13, having only interacted online and over the phone before then.
“She puts her heart and soul into all of these,” said Cuoco, who spent eight weeks piecing together the quilt.
Around Christmas time in 2014, Cuoco and Morley discussed the idea of thanking Borisow for the hundreds of paintings she’s crafted, adding department officials were “100 percent” behind her pitch to salute her with late-night cake and laughs.
Gillespie, the fifth division commander, described Borisow as a trailblazer, noting she’s the only woman to make serve on the county police department’s decentralized SWAT team.
In fact, he trained for the SWAT team alongside her 23 years ago.
“She takes this all in stride. She is doing something in which she has skill,” said Gillespie about her art. “It’s her way of giving back to these people.”
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