By Tori Mason

CASTLE ROCK, Colo. (CBS4) – Douglas County has bled blue ever since Deputy Zack Parrish was killed in the line of duty on New Year’s Eve.

Zack Parrish (credit: CBS)

With their minds on the tragedy, a group of students used their day off on Friday to show deputies how grateful they are for their service.

Students from the Interact clubs at Mountain Vista High School and Mountain Ridge Middle School in Highlands Ranch collected hundreds of gift cards to give to Douglas County Sheriff’s deputies.

(credit: CBS)

They took each of those gift cards and attached each one to a personal, handwritten note thanking law enforcement.

“Thank you a lot for your service. It really means a lot to us and we really appreciate that you care about us,” said student Georgia Lane when she was asked what the message is that she wants to send to law enforcement.

Those students brought all of those notes and gift cards to the sheriff’s office in the morning to be handed out to deputies.

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Students say they’re grateful for the brave work the men and women do every day, and they jumped on the opportunity to show them they care.

“Even when it’s tragedy that strikes our community, they think about us and care for us,” community resource officer Julie Widner said. “It allows us to know that even the younger people in our community are thinking about us and that means a lot to us.”

Both schools also recently held a Blue Out Day where students and staff wore blue in support of the sheriff’s office. They took pictures and presented a framed photo collage to the sheriff.

Tori Mason is an award-winning reporter for CBS4 This Morning. Follow her on Twitter @ToriMasonTV.