Retiree Recognition - Metal Messages of Thanks

Retiree Recognition - Metal Messages of Thanks

Posted by Big Sky on May 05, 2019


Hard to believe that it is May already and that we are almost halfway through 2019.  Seems like just yesterday it was the start of the new year and cold and snowy.  Oh wait…that was just this past Sunday.  Yes, snow in Montana on April 28, 2019, a blizzard of squalls and poor visibility.  But the optimism remains as we charge into the month of May with the promise of warmer temps, green grass and hopefully no more snow.

Not only is this a time of change of the seasons but also a time of change in the lives of many families.  Graduations from high school and college, wedding season, Memorial Day, Fourth of July - there are literally celebrations happening everywhere.  And here at Messages in Metal, we got the unique opportunity and honor to take part in some of that celebrating this past month.  And it’s through that ‘celebration’ that we were able to think outside the box of what we do and create something that is one of a kind.  Unique.  Awesome.  And very personal to the recipients.


We were contacted by the commander of the Massachusetts State Police STOP Team.  STOP stands for Special Tactical Operations and is the equivalent of a SWAT Team. The Lieutenant in command was looking for something extraordinary to honor some retirees from the STOP Team, a way to convey to them that their service to the team left a lasting impression.  He told us that in the past, retirees were given a framed print with the badge and pin.  Nice enough.  But he wanted to do better.

The Lieutenant sent us some photos of his men “in the stack”.  Photos showing some of his men in the act of conducting tactical training.  The MA STOP Team had taken several photos of members of each retiree’s group - breachers, snipers, members of their regional sub-element (North, South, West) Team, etc.  After sending he asked, “What can you do?  How can we commemorate the service, the leadership, our gratitude to the retirees?  Show them that gone does not mean forgotten?”  And the brainstorming began!


The pictures shared with us were truly something.  Highly detailed but also you could feel the emotion and the dedication.  The feeling of “protect and serve” was crystal clear.  We considered printin the images on a canvas, giving them raised edges and the look and feel of an oil painting.  But that wasn’t quite right.  Looked great but the message was not conveyed.  And then the lightbulb turned on.

We took a piece of white metal and first printed the oval image of the STOP Team unit patch as a part of the background.  We were then able to take the pictures themselves and print them onto the metal, partially covering the badge in the background.  Our printing process not only allowed us to make the pictures partially transparent so that the image of the unit patch could be faintly visible but it also gave us the ability to give the print life.  Give it texture and depth.  You could run your fingertips over the end image and actually feel the uniforms, the faces, the emotion of the picture.

and then we took it a step further

STOP Team members are differentiated from regular patrol officers in field uniform by the STOP Team “pin” worn above their name plate.  We knew that the pin that the STOP Team members wore on their uniform was of significant importance.  It was first designed and worn in 1971 and remains unchanged to this day.  The MA State Police STOP Team consists of 30-40 members and those that tryout for the team not only need to be in top physical shape but also must be mentally and emotionally elite - able to handle a high stress situation and perform accordingly. After being appointed to the STOP Team, new members must prove their worth and capability and, after a year of “probation”, are given their “pins”.  Being a member of the Team is a source of pride and “the pin” is a tangible symbol of that pride.

We framed the metal prints in a simple black frame which further enhanced the depth and emotion of each picture.  We then took aluminum and created a replica of the STOP Team pin.  That pin was polished to a high shine and set into the frame at the top center.  The bottom of the frame was accented with a silver plaque that denoted the name of the retiree, their position on the team and their years of service.  The end result was not only something that as a company we were extremely proud of but also incredibly well received by the retirees.  A memento of time served with men that served along side them.


And the fun didn’t stop there.  As with any large organization, there are many parts that make up the whole, those that support and give necessary guidance.  Those in positions associated with the smaller groups that work tirelessly to ensure success.  A Major that worked closely with the STOP Team had recently retired from the Mass State Police as Commander of Special Operations and the Lieutenant asked us if we could do something unique for him.  This particular Major’s support and dedication to the STOP Team had been extraordinary and the Lieutenant wanted his gift to reflect that.

we were on it.

Messages in Metal created a plaque for the Major.  But not just any plaque.  The base was made of solid walnut and it measured slightly less than 8” x 10”.  We placed 1mm copper sheet on top of the face of the walnut base and then a layer of 1mm aluminum sheet on top of the copper.  The aluminum face was accented with textured and dimensional printing and was a visual ‘Thank You’ to the Major for his service and dedication to the STOP Team.  A custom STOP Team pin milled out of 1.5mm copper plate was then set into the face of the walnut at the top of the plaque.  Personal.  One of a kind.  Extraordinary.  Just like the Major it was honoring.


At Messages in Metal, we pride ourselves on bringing your words to life with our jewelry.  But that’s not all we do.  Our knowledge and expertise affords us the opportunity to take something ordinary - such as a plaque recognizing years of service - and make it extraordinary.  We can custom design, manufacture and produce personal expressions of gratitude for service, for time given to a group, bring to life pictures and moments in a way that allows you to reach out and ‘feel’ the memory.

We’d like to extend our thanks to the MA State Police STOP Team.  We are not only appreciative of your service to the public but honored to have been able to help you express your gratitude to those that have served.  Thank you for your time, your service and your sacrifice.

Let us help you create something magnificent.  Extra-ordinary.  Have an idea?  Call us!  Send us an email!  There is no limit to what we can do and because everything from collaboration to design to manufacturing to packaging is done under one roof, we are able to oversee the entire process.  And because everything is in house, our turnaround time depending on the project is anywhere from a 2-5 days.

To all the men and women that serve and protect, our first responders, our military - all of us at Messages in Metal give you our thanks and gratitude for your service!