About Us

Back the Blue Rumble DBA as Back the Heroes Rumble is recognized in Ohio as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation in support of law enforcement, first responders, fire fighters, and military servicemen/women and the Veteran community. Our service area covers the entire states of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.
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Our Start

This organization is consisted of five board members in the Cincinnati Tri-State Community including three military veterans. In addition, we have partnered with local chapters and charities that share in our mission directives. When a local law enforcement officer was killed in the line of duty in our area, it had shaken every one of us to our core. So we decided to do a car show to honor the fallen officer as OUR way of Backing the Blue in a loud way. After helping host that car show for the officer, many of us wanted to continue to do this on a larger scale and more frequently. Our name was inspired by that experience of Backing the Blue in that successful car show. But we wanted to support more than just our law enforcement. So we created this non-profit corporation to serve police, fire and military.

Our Mission

Our mission is to honor law enforcement officers, fire fighters and the military community and the families they have left behind. Our objective and vision is to not just be another organization that donates a check and then disappears. We intend on creating a network with the families of the fallen to meet and support one another during these toughest of times along with our partnered Non-profits of these communities. It is our desire to connect these families with these corporations for resources as well. We will be hosting various events to raise funds that will be donated to the selected families by our board to be honored at said events including our annual car show. We also help underfunded police/fire departments when the need is there for equipment/resources via our Operation Open Arms community Initiative.

We will continue to HONOR those whom served and gave the ultimate sacrifice. We will continue to SERVE those whom bear the burden of losing a loved one. We will SACRIFICE our time and effort to do what we must to show support and show solidarity to our heroes and their loved ones. This is because if not for their service, and sacrifice, our communities wouldn’t be as great and free as it is today. We will always BACK OUR HEROES! "
Back the Blue Rumble is a tax exempt public charity
(Federal Tax ID # 83-4125871).

Message from the Founding President

Carl Whalen
After my service in the Army ended and my new chapter in life as a civilian began, I found myself searching high and low for purpose and meaning in our world to make it better while also being driven to be the best father I could be to my wonderful two boys. I completed my education as a paramedic and then nursing school at University of Cincinnati in the hopes I could continue to serve my community. That dream was cut short unfortunately due to the medical issues and injuries I suffered from due to my military service and had to hang up my hat altogether in the workforce.

In 2019, my wife and I woke to hear the news that an officer in our area was killed and were both felt compelled to help as we could only imagine what impact that tragedy had on that officer’s family and saw what he meant to our community. The way we see it, all our law enforcement officers, firefighters/EMTs, & military service men/women make sacrifices for us. This often includes their lives to protect and serve us in our time of need. There is never enough we can do for them. We must strive to remember every hero, especially those that gave the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. Our nonprofit prides in being a 100% volunteer organization and hopes it lends to a greater impact for our heroes and their families.

Today has sadly became a graver reality for all our law enforcement officers in that they are being targeted every day just for being law enforcement and putting on that uniform to say, “Nothing will hurt you, not on my watch.” There is no sacrifice too great, no time too precious for us as grateful citizens to give our heroes for their service and sacrifice. The same can be said in Fire/EMS and our military. Even now after we have fought back against the likes of a once in a hundred-year pandemic, we find our families and communities all lost lives including several hundred of our first responders.

We at Back the Heroes Rumble feel there is ALWAYS more we can do to better protect and assist our heroes directly. It is our belief that although we unfortunately cannot realistically eliminate loss of life in the line of duty our first responders and military endure, we can certainly do everything possible to lessen that loss. Operation Open Arms is a program of ours where we work to meet this need head on. Since its beginning in 2020, we have had nearly $54,000 of impact towards 27 police/fire departments in need and want to do much more. Over 1200 departments in the Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky region have needs unmet and we intend on meeting those needs. These needs include Emergency Trauma Kits for our police & upgraded particulate blocking hoods for Firefighters to stop exposure to cancer causing agents.

As someone who has served during war in our military, I understand in a similar light what our heroes endure. It has been my personal mission and now shared among our board of directors, volunteers & our supporters like you to make sure we meet these needs for our heroes. There truly is never enough that we can do for those that willingly put their lives on the line to serve and protect us and our great nation. I hope you’ll join us and do whatever you can do to help us serve the very needs of our heroes and their families who also sacrifice every day.

Last but certainly not least, I as well as our board and volunteers wish to tell all our Law Enforcement officers, Firefighters/EMTs, & Military as well as their families thank you for your service and for continuing to be there for us in our time of need. If there is anything you need, we hope we can aid in every way possible and will always have your backs.

God Bless you all!

Board Members

Carl Whalen

President / Co-Founder / Car Show Event Chair
Carl Whalen is President/Co-founder of Back the Blue Rumble. He is a 5 year combat veteran of the United States Army and served as a Combat Medic during Operation Iraqi Freedom campaign. He also has his Bachelors Degree in Nursing from University of Cincinnati.

While serving the fallen heroes and their families, he continues to live by the warriors ethos he swore under in the military; One of these ethos means more to him than the rest being "I will never leave a fallen comrade".

Andrea Whalen

Secretary / Co-Founder / Honoree Contact Liaison
Andrea Whalen is Secretary and Co-Founder of Back the Blue Rumble. She is a recent graduate from University of Cincinnati with her Bachelors Degree of Science in Criminal Justice with a Minor in Biology.

Her passion is to serve her community and while she serves our military/veteran community as VA School Certifying Official at University of Cincinnati, she continues her pursuit to care of our fallen heroes and their families. She is also the Honoree Contact Liaison for our annual car show. When our heroes are selected to be honored at any of our events and we need to reach out to the family of said Honoree, Andrea is the one person who contacts said family. It is at this moment first where we make our initial contact to honor a fallen loved one.

She is also the person that coordinates with the Honoree Welcoming Team during our Annual Car Show when the day is made entirely about the fallen hero and his/her family.
Norman Nelson - Board Member

Norman Nelson

Operation Open Arms Program Director/ Retired LEO/ Retired U.S Air Force/ NLEOMF Ambassador
In 2023, Norman was appointed director of Open Arms program, which provides lifesaving equipment and vital resources to first responder agencies across the Tri-State region. Being a retired Air Force Security Forces veteran, a retired Law enforcement officer, Norman knows all too well what dangers our first responders inherit daily performing their duties. 

This is why Norman came to our organization wanting to help it grow and make a bigger impact every single year. Norman is also one of the important Ambassadors to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial & Museum in Washington D.C.

Joey Barrow

VP of Marketing / Co-Chair of Heroes Holiday Toy Drive
Joey is a U.S. Navy Veteran who served abroad the USS George Washington CVN-73, and with a Anti Terrorism Task Force in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

After several battles with cancer, Joey was retired from Naval Service, and has continued serving by volunteering for the last decade with Team Rubicon.

He brings his experience and energy to Back the Heroes Rumble, and willingness to help us remember and honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice as our new VP of Marketing. 
Joey Barrow - Marketing VP
Nicolle Barrow - Treasurer

Nikki Barrow

Treasurer / Project Little Hero Program Director
Nikki comes to our charity with over a decade in banking experience with Fifth Third Bancorp as well as just as much experience in nonprofit functions. She has been volunteering with Team Rubicon for many years and helping carry on the mission to provide holiday cheer for military families.

She is our treasurer and the director for our program titled 'Project Little Hero' where we serve families of military/veterans and first responders with holiday cheer as well as back to school supplies!


Back the Heroes Rumble offers two funded programs: Operation Never Forget & Operation Open Arms. ONF is our annual car show where we honor fallen heroes & support the families of said honorees. We also host an annual Heroes Holiday Toy Drive for families of police/fire/military and veteran communities.

OOA is a community initiative where we assist underfunded needs of law enforcement/fire departments.  Both initiatives get corporate support and from individual donations.

100% of Donor funds go towards the mission and operations.

No. Absolutely zero funding/donations go to our board or staff. Even including our President, all are 100% volunteers and receive no compensation of any kind.

You can help by signing up to volunteer at our events.  You can get directly to this page by clicking here – How to Help This page also allows you to make one-time donations directly to the program you wish to support.  Thank you for your support!

First, we would like to Thank you and your department for serving and protecting our communities!

You need to go to ‘Programs’ and click on Operation Open Arms in our top page menu.  Once you are there, you should click on ‘Apply for Assistance’ button.

From there, our Program Director, Norman Nelson will reach out to work with you and help.

Applications are reviewed from January 1st through March 31st and decisions to fund requests made are done during our monthly board meeting in April each year.  Decisions are based on need, the number of applications submitted and available funding.  We are also limited based on available program funding at the time of these decisions.

Thank you for reaching out!  Many Corporations like yours has been the backbone in our efforts and without you, doing our mission would be difficult.

We kindly ask you reach out to us via email at btbrmarketing@gmail.com and our Marketing Director, Joey Barrow will reach out to you and show you the various ways we can work together in serving our heroes!  Check out our Ambassadorship program and learn how we can work together to serve our heroes and their families directly.

Also please check out our programs as there are often times along with our car show opportunities to sponsor!  Again, Thank you for your support!

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