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.
The Singing Illinois state trooper
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.
Thanks for the commitment to excellence!
Team members pictured are:
Trooper Matthew Williams
Trooper Justin Young
Corporal Nathaniel Russell
Sergeant Luis Tejera
Sergeant Dennis Hobbs
Trooper Vanessa Franceschi
Trooper Michael Elder
Trooper Norma Guifarro
Sergeant Jewrel Wigfall
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.