DUBLIN, Ga. — A Dublin couple has found an interesting pastime to do together -- they collect police badges.
"L.A. County Fire Station #125," Larry Hopkins said while he asked Google to look up a number on his phone.
It's practically a daily ritual for Hopkins, getting on the phone and asking for a small gift.
"We went to a museum called Fraternal Order of Alaska State Troopers," said Hopkins.
It was there that he and his wife Carolyn bought a few patches, and it sparked a plan.
"I had seen them on Facebook -- the collectors -- and we said, 'Well why don't we try to collect a few more and we might get enough to cover the coffee table,'" said Carolyn with a grin.
One frame turned into 26, and now close to 1,800 police and fire shields take up a good bit of real estate.
"We barely have room to sit in the living room now," joked Carolyn.
Every time the mailman comes, they get so excited. It happens everyday and the record is 165 patches from California.
"One day he had 11 and he came in and the envelopes are sliding all over," said Carolyn.
With that kind of product coming in the door, Larry is always tinkering with how they're organized.
"He does the calling and arranging in the frames, which to me would just be overwhelming, and I write 'thank you' letters," said Carolyn.
The captain at Station #125 told Larry he already sent him a patch. Sometimes that happens, but don't think these retirees are ever discouraged.
They say the only thing officers and firemen can say is 'yes' or 'no.' Plenty have said 'Yes!'
The patches are pieces of material they'll never hawk, but they cherish each connection.
The Hopkins' even have a patch from Interpol in France and the Royal Canadian Mountain Police.