Police agencies all over the US will be remembering, honoring and mourning their fallen comrades this week. May 13- 19, 2012 is National Police Memorial Week.
Yesterday, official Police Memorial Day, a beautiful red, white and blue wreath was placed in front of a memorial bench in the artium of the Melbourne Police Department. Officers, staff and others paid their respects to my late husband, Joseph S. Pellicano, one of their own. But the day was about more than mourning. It was about celebrating the lives of all those Police Officers who put their lives on the line each and every day. I was fortunate enough to spend the morning having breakfast with a police officer who should be the "poster cop" of what a law enforcement officer should be about. This man lives,eats, sleeps and breathes service to others. He is Vice President of the American Police Hall of Fame, a member of The Blue Knights, Space Coast Police, and the CEO and Founder of Families of Shield. His name is John Pasko.
John started Families of the Shield, Inc, a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization, to assist the families of officers killed in the line of duty. The organization aslo provides emotional and financial support to any First Responders in the area, who are in need. Here are just a few of the activities carried out by this organization:
*Christmas food and toy give away to 200 needy families.
*Designed and decorated the First Responder's Christmas tree at the Festival of Trees.
*Easter baskets for children in Hidden Harbor, Holmes Regional Medical Center Pediatric Unit, Underprivileged VPKs and other shelters.
*Assisted in organizing and running the memorial motorcycle ride and BBQ for fallen Brevard County Deputy Barbara Pill.
*Making and delivering 240 Police Memorial Day treat bags for all members of the Melbourne Police Department.
*Organizing free and discounted Family Movie Days (with movie, popcorn and soda for families of First Responders)
*Organizing and running Joseph S. Pellicano Memorial Golf Tournament (with Melbourne Police Foundation) to raise funds for the Joseph S. Pellicano Memorial Scholorship.
*Police Memorial Candelight Vigil on May 18th with American Police Hall of Fame (Motorcycle escourted ride from Palm Bay to the American Police Hall of Fame where a candelight service and tour of the American Police Hall of Fame takes place.
This organization is what it all should be about. Helping, remembering, honoring, all those who place their lives on the line each and every day for us,and some of them making the ultimate sacrifice for our safety and well being. This includes Police, Fire,Medic, and Military personnell.
I encourage each and every one of you to do something to honor a first responder every day. Thank a veteran or active military person for their service, tell a police officer "stay safe", do something as simple as making sure you move to the right immediately when you hear a siren or see that flashing light. These things won't cost you a cent, but they can make a world of difference to a first responder.
If you would like more information on Families of the Shield, are interested in working with them on events, would like to make a donation, or would like to attend the Awesome Gala coming up in October, contact them at Familiesoftheshield.org or check them out at "John Pasko and Families of the Shield" on Facebook.