Recently, there was a big show of support in Pittsburgh, PA, for the Pennsylvania State Police force as well as for the families of the two troopers who were brutally shot in an ambush earlier this year on the opposite side of the state. The Officer Down 5K Walk and Run attracted hundreds of participants.
The event honored the sacrifices of all troopers injured or killed in the line of duty, especially those involved in the most recent ambush attacks. “These officers, they see a lot of bad things every day, a lot of grief,” said Pittsburgh Police Lt. Jason Lando, “so it’s just a nice chance for us to get together, raise a lot of money for the officer memorial page.”
In addition, the wives of Pennsylvania State Troopers attended the event, selling tee-shirts and meeting with attendees. The group of wives continue to rally together in order to show support for the families Corporal Bryon Dickson, who was killed in the Sept. 12ambush, and Trooper Alex Douglass, who was critically injured. They have sold nearly 30,000 ‘PSP Strong” custom tee-shirts. The letters “PSP” stand for Pennsylvania State Police.
Due to their popularity, custom tee-shirts are commonly used to raise awareness for causes. In fact, nearly 70% of men and 54% of women in America today own more than 10 tee-shirts.
Since the capture of outdoor survivalist suspect Eric Frein in late October, the wives have organized several fundraisers and sales, even creating an online donation fund that has since raised over $33,000. “When we lose one of the brothers or sisters, it’s very important that we rally around the family and support them,” said Kathy, the wife of a state trooper.
One wife, whose husband works out of the Blooming Grove Barracks, where the ambush took place, recalled her husband’s close call. On the night of the attack, he left work just half an hour before shots were fired on his fellow officers. Shortly thereafter, he received word to report back to the barracks.
“He was leaving to go up there, and I literally fell to my knees and was like, ‘Don’t go,’ crying,” Tabitha Lopresto said. Like many of the wives participating in selling the ‘PSP Strong’ tee-shirts, Lopresto’s husband was involved in the massive manhunt for Frein.