Regardless of your theological beliefs, this is the time of year to be reflective. To consider those things for which we are thankful. To contemplate what might have been.
It is a time to think about those who are no longer with us to enjoy this holiday season.
I think of Joshua Miller, the Pennsylvania State Trooper who confronted a deranged and armed suspect in a bid to save the man's kidnapped child. Thanks to the courageous efforts of Miller and his fellow troopers, the boy was saved. But Miller paid the ultimate price for his bravery.
This will be the first Christmas that Trooper Miller's three children will be without their father. Angela Miller will have to carry on their Christmas traditions without her husband.
Sadly, too many families of fallen officers are sharing the same experience this year, trying to find some way to celebrate the season in the wake of their lost loved ones.
A small gesture from each of us can go a long way toward easing the burden of these families, whether you are able to afford a financial donation or a simple note of condolence.
The circumstances surrounding each of these officers' murders are available through the Officer Down Memorial Page. Donations for the families of some of these officers may be made through the following contacts:
Officer Brandon Sigler - Mobile (Ala.) Police Department
Brandon Sigler Family
c/o Major Kara Rose
Mobile Police Department
2460 Government Road
Mobile, AL 36606
Officer John Pawlowski - Philadelphia Police Department
The John Pawlowsi Memorial Trust Fund
Police and Fire Federal Credit Union
901 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Deputy Chad Mechels - Turner County (S.D.) Sheriff's Department
Chad Mechels Memorial Fund
c/o any Wells Fargo Bank branch in South Dakota
Sgt. Mark Dunakin, Officer John Hege, Sgt. Ervin Romans, and Sgt. Daniel Sakai - Oakland (Calif.) Police Department
To honor John Hege, see http://opoa.org/hege_donations.htm
Individual checks can be made payable to:
"Dunakin Children's Family Trust"
"Romans Children's Family Trust"
"Sakai Family Trust"
Attn: Rennee Hassna
555 5th Street
Oakland, CA 94607
Officer Eric Kelly, Officer James Mayhle, and Officer Paul Sciullo - Pittsburgh (Pa.) Police Department
Pittsburgh Fallen Heroes Fund
Greater Pittsburgh Police Federal Credit Union
1338 Chartiers Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15220
Det. Allen Pearson - Lenoir County (N.C.) Sheriff's Department
Katherine W. Pearson Beneficiary Account
c/o any Wachovia Bank branch
Det. Marc DiNardo - Jersey City (N.J.) Police Department
JCPOBA/Marc Anthony DiNardo Memorial Fund
P.O. Box 17395
Jersey City, NJ 07307
Officer Tina Griswold, Officer Ronald Owens, Sgt. Mark Renninger, and Officer Greg Richards - Lakewood (Wash.) Police Department
Lakewood Police Independent Guild Charity Fund
P.O. Box 99579
Lakewood, WA 98496
Lakewood Police Benevolent Fund
c/o any Columbia Bank branch
Fallen Lakewood Officers Fund
c/o any Bank of America branch
Sgt. David Kinterknecht - Montrose (Colo.) Police Department
David Kinterknecht Memorial Fund
200 North Townsend Avenue
Montrose, CO 81401
Cpl. Mike Roberts - Tampa (Fla.) Police Department
Tampa Police Memorial Fund
411 North Franklin Street
Tampa, FL 33602
In the memo section of the check write, "Cpl. Mike Roberts Memorial Fund"
Patrolman Chad Spicer Georgetown (Del.) Police Department
Aubrey Spicer Fund
c/o Norman Spicer
Wilmington Trust Bank
139 South State Street
Dover, DE 19901
Officer Richard Crittenden North St. Paul (Minn.) Police Department
Richard S. Crittenden, Sr. Memorial Fund
Anchor Bank Heritage, North St. Paul Branch
2700 7th Avenue East
North St. Paul, MN 55109
Alejandro Valadez - Chicago Police Department
The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation
1407 West Washington Boulevard
Chicago, IL 60607
Officer Henry Canales - Houston Police Department
Dep. Shane Detwiler - Chambers County (Texas) Sheriff's Department
Officer Jesse Hamilton - Pasadena (Texas) Police Department
I hope that you will think of these families as you go about your business; that you will feel inspired to do your job in their memory, and honor them by coming home safely to your own loved ones. Perhaps you will find time to donate to one of these memorial funds.
I hope, too, that you will be here this time next year.
If you have the names of any other memorial funds for fallen officers, please include the names of contact people or organizations in the comment area below.