BARDSTOWN, Ky. (WKYT) - Take a walk down Third Street in Bardstown and you'll start to notice a theme: a familiar face in nearly every shop window. It's the face of murdered Bardstown police officer Jason Ellis.
"Everybody loved Jason," said shop owner Buddy Gulden. His shop is a little different.
Walk past the thin blue line by the door and you'll find an entire wall dedicated to Ellis.
"You all know that today is the one-year anniversary of Jason being killed," Gulden told visitors who looked over the pictures of Ellis and his K9, Figo. Gulden is a former sheriff from Texas.
"My daughter's a police officer in Louisville," he said. That's why he's so passionate about honoring Officer Ellis.
"When I walk in in the morning, first thing I do is look up there. I still get a lump in my throat," Gulden said.
Gulden plans to join other friends and family Sunday evening at the off-ramp of exit 34 along the Blue Grass Parkway. That's where investigators say Ellis was ambushed and killed a year ago. To mark the one-year anniversary, they'll line the route from there to the cemetery where Ellis is buried with illuminated milk jugs.
"It's going to be really emotional. I'm an old hard-nose. I don't break up very easy. It's going to be emotional," Gulden said.
Investigators haven't had much luck finding leads over the past year. Gulden says that's changed the whole atmosphere of Bardstown.
"It took our most beautiful small-town in America status and kind of shattered that Mayberry R.F.D. look," he said.
But with each new person who wanders into Gulden's shop, he's doing his part to keep Officer Ellis at the top of people's minds, and hoping for answers.
"As long as I have this store, there'll still be a memorial to Jason here," he said.
"I never fail to stop and look at the cross and the flag and remember what happened here," said Detective Jonathan Snow, with the Nelson County Sheriff's Office and one of Sunday's memorial organizers.
Lighting the way, milk jugs with candles lined the roads from where Officer Ellis was shot and killed to the cemetery where he lays at rest. For eight miles, friends, family, and former colleagues placed jugs leading the way to a memorial for Officer Ellis. It's their way of keeping what happened to him alive since it's still an unsolved case with many unanswered questions.
"Hopefully, it'll tug at people's heartstrings and remind them that Jason was a father and a husband. So we're really just looking for answers," said Detective Snow.
About 115 jugs per mile were used. That's nearly 1,500 milk jugs in all. Friends tell us it took about a month of gathering and planning to pull off this memorial for Officer Ellis.