CLEARFIELD – The 2021 Clearfield County Blue Mass was held Sunday afternoon at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Clearfield.
The Blue Mass is celebrated annually throughout the United States in Catholic churches for law enforcement officers, firefighters, correctional officers, 911 operators and EMS personnel. The color blue relates to the blue-colored uniforms predominantly used by those public services.
The Blue Mass, even though held in a Catholic church, is an opportunity for all faiths to gather together as a community to show gratitude for their public servants and to pray for their safety.
During the service, District Attorney Ryan Sayers presented the Officer of the Year Award to Casey Doherty of the DuBois City Police Department and the Civilian of the Year Award to Don Shaw of Clearfield. Shaw, however, wasn’t present to accept his award.
Doherty graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 2001, and started his career with the Montgomery County Police Department in Maryland.
He served as a patrol officer, adjunct academy instructor for survival skills and patrol procedures and was on the crisis intervention team for mental health incidents.
Additionally, during his time in Maryland, Doherty served as the gang coordinator for his district on the gang task force. In 2010, he moved back to Clearfield County to serve as a patrol officer with the DuBois City Police Department.
“Doherty is not just an excellent police officer, he is an ambassador to the community that he serves,” reads the officer’s biography. “He has always done a little extra to spread kindness to children in the community.
“As an officer, he purchases matchbox cars and other toys to give to children when he is on a call or where the kids might be a little scared of the situation.
“In 2020, he made news in the region for Lego sets that he bought and then drove around the community to hand out to some kids with the only reward being the big smile on the kids’ faces.”
Shaw is a retired master chief of the U.S. Coast Guard and former Clearfield Borough police officer. He is a 50-plus year member and national lifetime member of the Fraternal Order of Police.
He consistently provides financial assistance to the Clearfield Borough Police Department, Lawrence Township Police Department, Crime Stoppers of Clearfield County, Clearfield Fire Department, Lawrence Township Fire Department, Clearfield Food Bank and local churches.
Specifically, Shaw purchased all of Lawrence Township Police Department’s new Glock 21 Gen 4 side arms, was instrumental in getting in-car and body cameras for Clearfield and Lawrence Township Police Departments and donated the full payment of the rental of six police tasers for the past several years.
As one chief stated, “Mr. Shaw is not only very generous, he is also one of the most decent and kind men it has been my honor to know.”