Massachusetts State Police Show up to Support a 3 year old Girl
A 3-year-old girl who was bullied for dressing up as a Massachusetts State Police officer at school got some support from state troopers who wanted her to know that she can be anything she wants, including a police officer. When Cosette dressed up as a “Massachusetts Police K-9 Girl” for her library group’s gathering, some of her classmates singled her out for “not being as cool as them,” according to a State Police Facebook post. Many of the other girls were dressed as Disney princesses, police said. Cosette was clad in all black with a “Police” shirt and a Massachusetts State Police hat, and was holding a fluffy stuffed dog. The girl was heartbroken, police said. So two troopers made a special trip to the school to teach the class that girls can be whatever they want. Cosette’s classmates were receptive, police said. “Long discussions about Ninja Turtles, Captain America and their important craft projects followed,” the post said.
6 year old Runs for Family of Fallen Virginia State Trooper Chad Dermyer
A Gloucester 6-year-old had an idea and he is running with it — literally. Braxton Lee says the news of State Trooper Chad Dermyer’s death hit his heart so hard, that he’s hoping to run more than 27 miles to raise donations for the fallen Trooper’s family. Lee plans to run nine 5K races for Trooper Dermyer, 37, who was fatally shot in March at a Richmond bus station during a VSP training exercise. He leaves behind a wife and two kids in Gloucester County. Lee wrote a letter to the Virginia State Police asking if he could donate money to the family of the fallen Trooper. They said, “OK.” “I will run a marathon for his family,” said Lee. “I feel very sad for them.” Some could call him a pocket-sized runner. He stands ‘tall’ at 3 foot 5 inches and he weighs 45 pounds. However, Braxton is a first grader who has crossed more finish lines than many adults. “I’m running for someone who got shot,” said Lee. “I think that nobody shouldn’t have done that. I’ve seen pictures of him.” He says the photos are pictures of a hero. Trooper Chad Dermyer is a man who Lee has never met, but amazingly enough, he’s a stranger who is pushing him to go the extra mile… or 27 miles. Lee is going the distance to make sure the Dermyer family gets the happiness he says they deserve. “Somebody shot a policeman and his kids probably miss him. I think that wasn’t very nice,” said Lee. Lee already has a few medals under his belt, but the medals are not what he is after in all of this. He says the family of Trooper Dermyer is the sole thing that is pushing him toward more finish lines. “I am running in honor and memory of trooper Chad Dermyer,” said Lee. “I think they are very sad right now [and] I think he should still be there for his family.” His mother, Mary Anne Lee, says she is proud of her son. “What’s driving him is that he couldn’t imagine being without his father and he can’t imagine what these kids are going through and that’s what is really motivating him,” said Lee. Lee came about the idea when he was eating at Chik-fil-A with his family. His mother says he saw a donation jar for Trooper Dermyer’s family, asked about it and from that moment on, he decided he was going to donate money in his honor. Lee may have little sneakers, size 12 to be precise, but he has a big goal in mind and he is determined. In a letter to Virginia State Police he writes: “I will run in his memory. Please donate money for his family. Love, Braxton Lee. Six-years-old.” Donations can be sent to: VSPA Emergency Relief Fund, 6944 Forest Hill Ave., Richmond, VA 23225. Write: Trooper Dermyer in the memo line.
Two Massachusetts State Troopers Rescue a Baby Deer
A pair of Massachusetts State Police troopers rescued a baby deer that was attempting to cross a Shelburne highway. Sgt. Brian Gladu and Trooper Sean LeBlanc found the fawn struggling to cross Route 2 on Wednesday morning. “The animal appeared injured, or might have just been having trouble adjusting to its new legs, as it appeared to be only a few weeks old,” State Police said in aFacebook post. The troopers placed the fawn in their cruiser while they consulted with a local veterinarian. After providing the animal with some food, troopers released it into a safe area nearby.
As he completed his studies to become an Illinois state trooper in 2010, Jonn-Paul Oliveto was pulled out of class and into a room where he stood opposite a captain, sergeant and master sergeant. To earn a passing mark, he had to sing the National Anthem. “I had an appointment to perform in front of them, without any rehearsal, so you can imagine my nerves,” recalls Oliveto, a trooper who works the Chicago area for the state police today. “But I’d come up with an idea: Instead of having the bagpipes play the National Anthem for our graduation ceremony, I would sing it.” And sing it he certainly did, to the point where the notes resonate to this day. Oliveto — who has no formal training whatsoever in the music department — has now become a go-to vocalist whenever the state police hold important functions. After his unconventional audition, “I sang the National Anthem at our graduation as something I would give to my class. And from then on all the higher-ups in the state police suggested that I keep doing it, and it’s an honor to keep doing it.” He was even tapped to sing the American and Canadian National Anthems at the International Chiefs of Police Association convention in Chicago. For Oliveto, the musical honor comes as an extension of his Italian upbringing. His parents, who both claim Calabrese heritage, were born overseas (his father in Italy, his mother in Argentina). “I started singing when I was much younger, probably around 12 or 13 years old,” Oliveto says. “I’ve always had a passion for my music and probably took after my paternal grandmother. She was always singing around the house.” And that’s about all the musical schooling Oliveto has ever known. A baritone, he credits his ability to regular singing over the years; he’s also a fan of contemporary classic arias, while comparing his vocal style to that of Josh Groban. The word on his singing ability has spread beyond the law enforcement ranks. He sang before Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and a host of other dignitaries at Judy Baar Topinka’s memorial service. And in February, Oliveto sang the American and National Anthems at Casa Italia’s Person of the Year Gala. That evening, he stepped into the spotlight with 800 pairs of eyes and ears focused entirel on him. “It was nerve wracking, but as a performer it’s always to my benefit,” he says. “With solo singing or public performance, there are always some nerves to deal with. But that’s what makes it even more powerful — and it was an honor to be part of that event.” To a large extent, the event’s aim dovetails with Oliveto’s chief passion as an artist. “I’m committed to preserving our culture,” he says. “That’s really integrated into my background and upbringing — and it’s truly a gift, something we have to keep. I carry on my grandparents’ teachings, their beliefs, their culture.”
Congratulations to the Florida Highway Patrol Honor Guard
Congratulations to the Florida Highway Patrol Honor Guard for placing first among state law enforcement agencies and second overall in the nation at the recent National Honor Guard Competition in Washington D.C.! Additionally, they were one of only two teams invited to attend a special ceremony at the Pentagon transporting the United States Honor Flag.
The members of the team worked diligently to prepare for this special event and came through in GREAT fashion. More importantly, they represented the Florida Highway Patrol in a truly professional manner to honor the sacrifices of our fallen troopers and law enforcement officers nationwide.
Trooper D.R. Murray Receives High Honors From West Virginia State Police
A Bluefield High School graduate whose long-time dream was to become a trooper was recently awarded one of the highest honors from the West Virginia State Police. Trooper D.R. Murray was honored with the prestigious Superinten-dent’s Award at a May event in South Charleston. Murray was presented the award for his numerous arrests and investigations while with the Welch detachment of the West Virginia State Police. During 2015, Murray completed 137 criminal investigations, made 80 felony and 140 misdemeanor arrests, confiscated $2,379,068 worth of illegal drugs and recovered $23,403 in stolen property, according to Welch detachment commander Sgt. C.F. Kane. Murray was also the lead investigator on a high-profile double murder in the Litwar area. “The perpetrator shot them and burned their bodies,” Murray said, recalling the case. “It was a who-done-it murder.” Within 38 hours of the initial call of the double homicide, Murray developed two suspects and interviewed each, Kane said. “One suspect confessed to being the shooter and killing both victims and the other suspect confessed to being present at the time of the shooting. Each suspect was charged with first-degree murder.” Murray credited his fellow troopers for their hard work on the double homicide. “Everybody at the Welch detachment worked wonders on that case,” he said. He also acknowledged the Welch troopers for their role in his achievement of the Superintendent’s Award, and spoke of the tight camaraderie at the McDowell detachment. “I would not have been able to get this if not for them,” Murray said. “This is not only my hard work, but their hard work. They’re legitimately why I got this award. They deserve it just as much as anybody does.” Detachment commander Kane said it was “a pleasure” having Murray work under his command. “He’s a well-rounded trooper,” Kane said. “The state of West Virginian and its citizens are lucky to have a man of this caliber in uniform.” Murray previously worked with the Bluefield and Princeton police departments, and served 10 years with the National Guard. He was deployed to Iraq from 2009 to 2010. However, serving as a West Virginia State Police trooper has always been his life-long goal. While a junior in high school, Murray was assigned to write a letter to his then-teacher, Kim Miller, wife of State Police Princeton detachment commander Sgt. Doug Miller, about his career aspirations. Kim Miller kept the 2004 letter, and shared it with the Daily Telegraph. “The thing that influenced me was the time that Trooper Doug (Miller) came to school and I went with him to his State Trooper car ...,” Murray wrote. “This is when I knew I wanted to be a State Trooper. This is what I am going to be, and this is what I want to be. Thank you.” In honor of receiving the Superintendent’s Award, Murray was presented with a 2016 Ford Explorer cruiser and a plaque that reads, “In recognition for positively representing the ideals of the Department by consistently performing their duties with outstanding skill, diligence, productivity, judgment and responsibility.” The State Police Welch detachment has a long history of award winners. Commander Kane is the only two time Medal of Valor honoree in the state. He earned the awards for an attempted rescue of a man in the Guyandotte River and the rescue of individuals during a fire at the Tyson Towers apartments. Sgt. J.S. McCarty was also awarded a Medal of Valor for his actions during the Tyson Towers fire. Trooper J.R. Coburn, also of the Welch detachment, earned a Medal of Valor for his actions in stopping a subject who was preparing to shoot a law enforcement officer in Mercer County. Murray, who was assigned to the Welch detachment upon his completion of the State Police Academy in 2014, has recently been reassigned to the State Police Monroe County detachment at Union.
Trooper First Class Brandon Benett Named Arkansas' Trooper of the Year
Trooper First Class Brandon Bennett, a seven year veteran Arkansas State Trooper, assigned to Highway Patrol Division Troop C (Mississippi County), has been awarded the department’s Trooper of the Year (2015). The award was presented today by Governor Asa Hutchinson and Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police, during the Annual Arkansas State Police Awards Luncheon. TFC. Bennett was also awarded the Arkansas State Police Medal of Valor. The honors were awarded for Bennett’s role in the July 1, 2015 apprehension of two Missouri fugitives who had shot a store clerk during a robbery. The arrests followed a pursuit that began near the Missouri – Arkansas border. The gunmen had already shot at a Mississippi County deputy and TFC. Bennett before the driver of the robbery getaway car lost control and crashed in a Blytheville neighborhood. Both fugitives fled the area on foot. TFC. Bennett left his patrol car to assist in the search and encountered one suspect hiding in thick brush. TFC. Bennett was met with resistance from the suspect who struggled to break-away from the trooper. The suspect was handcuffed by TFC. Bennett and turned-over to local authorities
Missouri State Trooper Thanked For saving woman from fiery wreckage
That’s what the family of Becky Crawford of Belton on Wednesday expressed to Missouri Highway Patrol trooper Jim Thuss, who had pulled her from her burning car in early February. “I owe my life to Trooper Thuss,” Crawford said. “The car was literally engulfed in flames within seconds. If he hadn’t been there to pull me out, I wouldn’t be here today.” Crawford was severely injured in the crash, suffering a broken pelvis and arm as well as two fractures in her spine. Crawford’s family presented Thuss with a plaque at the Missouri Highway Patrol’s Troop A headquarters in Lee’s Summit. They also gave him a large thank-you card in which each family member had written a personal message. “It’s extremely humbling,” Thuss said. “We don’t do this for recognition like that. I’m grateful for them and absolutely thrilled that Becky has recovered as she has.” The crash happened the morning of Feb. 2 and was caught on the dashboard camera of Thuss’ patrol car. Thuss was on Route D just north of Missouri 58 near Belton when he saw a 2002 Cadillac DeVille traveling 68 mph in a 50 mph zone. As he turned around to pull the car over, he checked the car’s speed at 101. The Cadillac, using the turn lane, passed other traffic that had stopped for a red light at the intersection of Missouri 58. The car ran a red light and smashed into Crawford’s car. There was an instant fireball followed by a plume of smoke. Fire started to grow along the driver’s side of Crawford’s car. Thuss ran to the passenger side, climbed inside and pulled her out. An off-duty Johnson County deputy sheriff helped him carry Crawford up a hill and away from the car. The driver of the Cadillac fled from the scene, but Belton police arrested him a short time later. Thuss shies away from being called a hero. He pointed to a wall of pictures of troopers killed in the line of duty. He also mentioned the fatal shooting of Kansas City, Kan., police Detective Brad Lancaster earlier this week. “Those are the true heroes out there,” Thuss said. “I was out doing my job, and that is what occurred that day.” Crawford disagrees and said he’s an amazing person. “He may think he’s just doing his job, but he does way more than that,” she said. “He’s just a very caring person.” At the hospital, Thuss had told her that he wouldn’t have let her burn. “I think about that and it chokes me up because I just can’t believe he would do that for me,” she said. She believes her rescue was definitely a miracle. Crawford’s husband, Ron, said they felt getting together to honor Thuss seemed fitting. “We have our wife, our daughter, our sister, our mother because of what he did,” he said.
Police dogs are great at sniffing out hidden drugs -- and as more crime goes digital, state police in Connecticut are training canines to sniff out evidence on computers and cell phones. Somewhere stashed behind a long wooden wall, in a dark gymnasium packed with old suitcases, is a hidden computer memory card. It's the kind of tiny chip you'd slip into a cell phone or a digital camera. Selma, a trim black lab with a nose trained to sniff out technology, is determined to find it. She can find things like hard drives, "cell phones, mobile devices -- such as tablets -- and, more importantly, devices such as USB drives or SD cards," said her handler, Detective George Jupin with the Connecticut State Police Computer Crimes Unit. After picking up the scent, Selma zips over to one corner of the gym, and puts her paws up on the wall to indicate she's found the stashed memory card. Jupin said Selma goes out about twice a week to execute search warrants. One time he said police already searched a house, but when they brought in Selma, she hit on a drawer human officers overlooked. Shoved in the back was a digital camera -- and it was filled with pictures indicating a child pornography suspect was doing more than just looking. "You don't have enough time to look at everything, but with the canine, it definitely makes you feel that you've done a more thorough investigation," Jupin said. "Getting into all those nooks and crannies of a house, particularly when the houses are large -- or they're packed with a lot of stuff. It's helpful." Selma was Connecticut's first E-Dog. Since then, state police taught six other Labradors to find hidden hardware. Those dogs are serving at police departments across the country and at the FBI. Trooper First Class Michael Real trains the dogs. Originally, he said they were bred to assist the blind, but didn't make it in guide-dog school, in part, because of high energy and an obsession with food -- bad traits for a seeing-eye dog -- but ideal for a canine in training. "We take these dogs particularly because they have great food drive -- and that’s how they eat every day from the time we get 'em," Real said. "It’s odor equates to food." Selma gets her dinner when she finds a chemical compound surrounding the memory boards of all cell phones and computers. It's put there to help keep the hardware cool. Real said it took about a year to train Selma to find the compound on actual hardware. Now, she can find hidden DVDs and Blu Ray discs, too. Real said the E-Dogs are even alerting to vintage tech -- like stashed-away floppy discs or VHS tapes. "They constantly amaze you with their ability to identify something similar to what they've been trained on," Real said. "It kind of leads us down the path of other things we should be training them on." Detective George Jupin said he's already getting calls for Selma to assist in homicide and fraud investigations. And while bomb-sniffing dogs are already a thing -- Jupin said the next step for Selma might be bomb reconstruction -- using her nose at a blast site to sniff out the scattered components of a computerized detonator.
Girls Lacrosse Team Honors New Jersey State Trooper Who Lost His Life
Aryn McCormick wore her late fiancé's sweatshirt, the baggy black one with "Irish Lacrosse" embossed on the front."Mine doesn't fit anymore," said McCormick, who is expecting her second child in August. Her older son, Seamus, will turn 1 on May 18. He was front and center Wednesday, wearing his green sweat jacket with the Fighting Irish logo, smiling at everybody who caught his eye. "Sad and happy," Camden Catholic senior goalie Khaia Baranowski said in summation of a special afternoon at Shamrock Field, when the Irish girls' lacrosse team welcomed back their former assistant coach and honored a loyal supporter of the program who made the ultimate sacrifice. Camden Catholic's 11-6 victory over Cherry Hill East on a cool, overcast day was dedicated to New Jersey state trooper Sean Cullen, who was killed in a traffic accident in West Deptford while on duty on March 8. Baranowski and other seniors presented McCormick with some tokens of their affection and appreciation during a pregame ceremony - a pair of miniature lacrosse sticks, a Camden Catholic bear and bib, flowers and letters from assistant coach Kathleen Notos' second-grade class. "There's some jokes in there," Camden Catholic head coach Bridget Sipera said of the letters. "Just really precious stuff." Players from both teams wore blue ribbons in their hair in honor of Cullen, and some Camden Catholic players had blue-and-gold shoelaces as well. A large sign that read "In Honor of Trooper Sean Cullen" hung beneath the windows of the press box, and all proceeds from the snack stand and sale of Camden Catholic gear were to be donated to the family. "This is a family that means so much to Camden Catholic," Sipera said. "This is something our seniors wanted to do. They came to me and asked if we could do something like this, and we ran with it." McCormick and Sipera played lacrosse together at Camden Catholic. Both were in the Class of 2002. McCormick was Sipera's assistant coach for four years, through 2013. She coached the current seniors as freshmen. "This is the reason why we love Camden Catholic," McCormick said. "This is the reason why we always come back - the tradition, the support." McCormick said she has been "overwhelmed" by the outpouring of support since Cullen's death. "It's been over the top," said McCormick, who lives in Cinnaminson in a home she shared with Cullen. "It's been amazing." McCormick said Cullen was "so supportive" of Camden Catholic girls' lacrosse program as well as a big fan of the Irish wrestling team. Cullen, a star wrestler at Cinnaminson High School and Lycoming College, served as an assistant coach for Camden Catholic's wrestling team for one year under then-head coach Ryan McCormick, Aryn's brother. "That's how we met," Aryn McCormick said. "Sean wrestled against my brother. We went out one night and he introduced us." Baranowski, who made five saves as Camden Catholic improved its record to 11-3, has a special relationship with McCormick. McCormick said Baranowski was the first "nonfamily member" to babysit Seamus. That was in February, about a month before Cullen's death. "I was excited, but I basically just watched the dog," Baranowski said. "[Seamus] slept the whole time." Baranowski said the game carried extra significance for the team. "We're so happy they're here," Baranowski said. "But at the same time, we're so sad that we lost a loved one."
Connecticut State Police Bloodhound Tracks Down Missing Women
A State Police bloodhound is being credited with tracking down an 89-year-old woman suffering from Alzheimer’s who was disoriented and lost in the woods. According to state police, at about 5:40 p.m. on Sunday, Troop L-Litchfield and the Woodbury Resident Trooper's Office were notified the missing elderly woman. The woman was last seen at about 5 p.m. at her Woodbury residence. Upon arrival troopers, and officers from the Woodbury Resident Trooper’s Office searched the residence and immediate area, but were unable to locate her. A State Police K9 team (German shepherd) also responded and assisted with the search. The state police helicopter, Trooper One, was requested, but was unable to fly due to the inclement weather. Members of the Woodbury Volunteer Fire Department also responded to the scene and assisted in the search. Fire department members planned to deploy a boat to check a pond located in the immediate area. Woodbury residents were alerted of the missing woman via the towns reverse 911 system. At about, 7:50 p.m. a state police bloodhound responded to the scene to further assist with the search. Trooper Kerry Halligan and her K9 partner Texas, a nearly 2 year old bloodhound, initiated a search for the 89 year old woman. After approximately 40 minutes of searching, K9 Texas located the missing woman approximately a quarter mile from her residence, in thick brush. The missing woman was disoriented and appeared to be suffering from hypothermia. The missing woman was transported to Saint Mary’s Hospital for evaluation by the Woodbury Volunteer Ambulance.
Former Maine State Trooper Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award
Inside his modest room at the Gardiner Healthcare Facility in Houlton recently, James Brown Sr.’s aged fingers traced a laminated map of the world. The 94-year-old talked vividly of the countries he had visited as he did so, running his fingers along the curved coast of Okinawa, next to the blue waters that engulfed Pearl Harbor and around the circular Attu Island. But it was his career in law enforcement he spoke of most, albeit modestly. Officials at the Houlton health care facility said recently that it was that lengthy police and naval career, his continuing ties to it, his strong bond with his family and his shining personality that led the facility to nominate him for a lifetime achievement award through the Maine Health Care Association’s Remember ME Project. According to its website, the Remember ME project is one of theMaine Health Care Association‘s most popular programs. It features black-and-white photographs accompanied by brief biographies of pioneering, innovative and interesting residents living in Maine’s long-term care facilities. Brown was one of only 34 winners statewide, with only two coming from Aroostook County. Brown, who has been married to his wife, Anna, for 68 years and has two sons, James Brown Jr. and Kevin Brown, said last week he was surprised and honored to receive the award. Brown Sr. served nearly four years in the Navy as a fire control man during World War II. Following that, he joined the Maine State Police and served with Troop E in Orono for seven years before being transferred to Thomaston as a sergeant for Troop D in 1957. After reassignment in 1958, he served 17 years as a member of Troop F in Houlton before retiring as a lieutenant in 1975. Brown next worked as chief of the Houlton Police Department for another seven years. “I have a lot of good memories of my years in law enforcement,” Brown said. “Those were the times when I met the best people in my life. I had a lot of good people serve with me, and I still keep in touch with a lot of them today. Every trooper that worked for me has been in to see me at some point.” Brown remains so revered by fellow troopers that when he was hospitalized in a rehabilitation facility in Bangor, his son James Brown Jr. said, he was visited by a number of members of Troop E in Orono. “That meant a lot to him,” Brown Jr. said. The elder Brown also is visited weekly by current and former members of Troop F in Houlton. “Those officers have offered to do anything for us that we need, which is a testimony to the caliber of people that they are,” Brown Jr. said. Anna Brown, who is not in a health care facility like her husband but visits him frequently, said he has always been humble and has never bragged about his accomplishments. That was the case last week, when he was asked to talk about the most memorable case he ever worked on. Without elaborating, he simply responded, “I worked on all of my cases with someone else.”
State trooper Paul Kingery set an eagle free Friday near Hastings, nearly six weeks after he rescued the injured bird from along a Twin Cities interstate. No longer sore, Trooper the eagle soars again. Nearly six weeks after being spared a lonely death along a busy Twin Cities interstate from a collision with a car, the bald eagle flies free again thanks to state trooper Paul Kingery. Kingery not only rescued the bald eagle from its prone position on the side of Interstate 494 in Eagan and brought it in his squad car to the University of Minnesota Raptor Center in St. Paul for treatment, the trooper was given the honor Friday of setting this nation’s symbol into the wild blue yonder near Hastings, now that its time on the mend has came to an end. “Go! I just wanted it to go,” said Kingery, who donned protective gloves, sleeves and glasses before taking hold of Trooper at the St. Croix River near the Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center. Kingery was instructed by a caregiver to hold the eagle with his stronger right hand firmly gripping its legs -- one leg sporting an identity band -- and his left arm under the bird’s body. The eagle was docile throughout the prelaunch proceedings, even as anxious youngsters visiting the nature center hung close by. To the count of “1, 2, 3,” Kingbury hoisted the 8 1/2-pound eagle into the wind to help with the bird gaining loft. The children whooped amid loud applause as the eagle made a few laps overhead. “Bye, bye, birdie,” one of the kids yelled. Kingery was just as cautious in his first encounter with the eagle, which occurred on March 20 along eastbound I-494 near Pilot Knob Road. He used his coat as protection from the full-grown bird’s beak and claws while picking up the eagle and placing it in his squad car. Then off they went to the Raptor Center, where a one-year record 168 eagles were admitted for medical attention last year. Staff members there reported the eagle had internal injuries but no broken bones. And Trooper on Friday confirmed that initial diagnosis, with his fully outstretched wings upon takeoff.
Have you ever heard of a drivable, wooden car? Neither have we, nor had the Nebraska State trooper who pulled over a cedar covered 1985 Pontiac. Nebraska State Patrol shared the find on their Facebook page on Thursday. They said the handmade cedar car is perfectly legal to drive. The trooper stopped the driver for a license plate violation on Highway 281 near the South Dakota border. NSP said the driver handmade the wooden exterior out of cedar. And they say craftsmanship is a thing of the past … Now, THAT made us smile!
Minnesota State Trooper Writes a Card to a Family who lost their son
Lyle and Kerrie Pohlen lost their 16-year-old son, Johnathon Pohlen, in a car crash in 2013. "To this day, we have good days and bad," Kerrie Pohlen said. "We struggle to get by sometimes." The Pohlens say the loss of their son is like a void that can't be filled. Recently, they got an unexpected reminder in the mail that showed them someone remembers Johnathon. "The card was from Officer Tom Erickson letting us know that he stopped on Interstate 94 to help a vehicle that had a damaged tire and in that process saw Johnathon Pohlen's Adopt-a-Highway sign," Kerrie Pohlen said. She says Erickson was the one who broke the news to them back in 2013 about their son's death. "Officer Erickson came to our home and had to deliver news that no parent would ever want to hear," she said. Erickson says he's driven by the sign many times and never paid any attention to who's name was on it. When he realized who it was, the memory came rushing back. "To add to the difficulty for me, it was the first death notification that I ever had to make to a parent as a parent," he said. "It was shortly after my first son was born." Erickson says he sent the card the day before the anniversary of Johnathon's death. "I thought I should reach out to the family and just let them know that I was thinking about them that day," he said. He wrote, in part, "I wanted to tell you what a great idea and thoughtful tribute it is to Johnathon to adopt the stretch of freeway where he tragically lost his life." It took Lyle Pohlen an hour to read the card. "I would read, like, a sentence and start to cry, and I kept reading it," he said. "It's hard for me to read, but it makes me feel good." The Pohlens say the pain of losing Johnathon is still fresh, but knowing Erickson cared enough to contact them three years later helps. The Pohlens plan on having the highway name adoption take place May 7.