Like Besty Ross, Swingle sews an emblematic banner

| 22 Feb 2012 | 07:56

Group’s secretary stitches a tribute to the organization’s annual shooting matches, By George L. Ambrose Franklin — Helen Swingle was celebrated at a meeting of the Franklin Revolver and Rifle Association recently for her handiwork. Swingle, who is the organization’s secretary, drew praise from the shooting club’s executive board for her creation of a large banner depicting 51 years of the association sponsoring police pistol matches — shooting competitions for civilians and law enforcement officers. Her banner features embossed gold leaf lettering on a dark blue cloth and 55 individually designed embroidered patches representing every pistol match event that has been held since 1958. The colorful, artistic badges are in the cheerful Sussex County theme of ‘mountain folk and their shootin’ irons’ and were donated for the project by the society’s longest serving member, past president and national pistol champion John Heller. The annual events, held each May, are also known as Bullseye matches, National Rifle Association Outdoor Pistol matches, Police L or Three Gun matches, Ambrose explains, because they can be shot with .22 caliber long rifle, .45 caliber automatic Colt semi-automatic pistols or .38 Special pistols or revolvers. The matches date back to the time when police carried revolvers and military carried .45s. Franklin R&R was famous for hosting local, county, state and federal law enforcement teams alongside civilian enthusiasts. The one-handed shooting is performed under strict safety procedures at 25 yards, and is fired in 10-shot groups at slow fire, timed fire and rapid fire stages, Ambrose says. John Gibson praised Swingle for the many hours that were put to meticulous craftsmanship to create the banner. She honed her skill through years of sewing patches for area police officers and firefighters. The shooting range receives support from Franklin Borough, as it is the police training facility for the Franklin Police Department. George L. Ambrose is an executive officer with Franklin Revolver and Rifle Association.