By Erica Thomas, managing editor
SPRINGVILLE — A Springville High School senior is showing his support for law enforcement with a painted flag in his parking spot.
Seniors at the school are allowed to paint their parking spots, and Grady Blankenship decided to go with a Thin Blue Line flag. During his time contemplating what to do, Blankenship said the idea came to him because he felt strongly about doing something to honor police.
“I was sitting at the kitchen table and thinking about it and thinking about what I could do,” said Blankenship. “And honestly, that flag came to me because I am a very hardcore constitutionalist. I am a very big police guy and I like law enforcement. I try to take care of them, especially because of some of the things they are going through right now.”
The teen said he was thankful to be able to show his support for those who put their lives on the line for public safety every day.
“They’re just under attack, not physically, but mentally and verbally at all times,” said Blankenship. “I think that’s one of the leading causes of me wanting to do this.”
When he went to paint the flag, Blankenship got sick and ended up in the emergency room. So, his family took over to finish the parking spot.
“My mom, dad, and sister actually finished painting it for me,” Blankenship said. “So they did the stars and stripes and I’m very thankful for that. So, really, it should all go out to them, not me.”
Although he is humble about his efforts, his mother, Kristi, said she is proud that he came up with the idea and show of support.
“I’m amazingly proud,” said Kristi Blankenship. “He’s such a good kid, has a great heart and I’m just very proud of him. We were kind of blown away by the reaction because it kind of blew up. We’re just very, very proud of him.”
When a police officer spotted the parking spot, snapped a photo and posted it online. It wasn’t long before the Springville Police Department shared the post and people on Facebook began to commend Blankenship for his efforts. Blankenship said he was shocked at the reaction from the community.
“Honestly, it surprised me,” said Blankenship. “Because I see that flag everywhere, I mean, we’re in the south. It was very overwhelming and it brought me a lot of joy.”
Blankenship, who works as a manager at a car wash, said he has considered a future in law enforcement himself. But for now, he is focusing on work and his last year in high school.
Whatever Grady Blankenship will do, there is one thing that is certain. He has already made an impact on his community and beyond. Springville Police Chief Wayne Walton was amazed by Blankenship’s actions and hoped to thank him in person for supporting law enforcement.
Blankenship wanted to make it a point to thank his family for their help in painting his parking spot: His father, Glenn, his mother, Kristi, and his sisters, Allie and Maddie.