LEBANON, Ind. – It’s been nine months since Boone County Deputy Jake Pickett was killed in the line of duty. Now, Pickett’s loved ones and fellow deputies are asking for your help in the hopes of honoring him one more time.
Family friends Megan Cantrell and Michelle Atkinson are helping the Boone County Sheriff’s Office raise money to send as many deputies and staffers as they can to National Police Week in May.
Each year, thousands gather in Washington D.C. for National Police Week, a multi-day celebration and remembrance for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. For the families and departments of fallen officers, National Police Week also offers counseling sessions, workshops, and other experiences that help in the healing process. Those who have gone on the trip before call the experience “crucial,” but it’s also expensive.
“Anybody who works for Boone County (Sheriff’s Office) has such an important job, and they shouldn’t be trying to figure out how to fundraise when they’ve got to keep us safe and do the things they have to do,” Michelle Atkinson said.
Atkinson and Cantrell, along with the department are now hoping the community can help send as many staffers as possible, setting up various events to help raise funds. They’ve also set up a Facebook donation page. So far, they say the community response has been incredible.
“It really makes you thank god for the people that support a department in need,” said Boone County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Wesley Garst.
Garst called the opportunity to honor Deputy Pickett on the national stage an important step for the department’s healing process.
“Not only does our department, our community gets to experience who he was, but we get to share that with not only the state of Indiana but the united states of America,” he said.
Atkinson and Cantrell say the community has already stepped in to pay for Deputy Pickett’s wife and children to be flown out for police week, an act of kindness they say can never be repaid.
“The fact that people are still thinking about her nine months out encourages her every day,” Atkinson said.
Atkinson and Cantrell say their hope now is to surround the Pickett family with as many of those who loved and served with Deputy Pickett as possible.
“If Jen can sit in her seat at police week and see all the faces there for Jake, that would mean so much to her.”
Boone County sheriff’s deputies will be at the following fundraising events:
December 8 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
December 9 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Breakfast with Santa-LA Café (Whitestown)
Reservations necessary: (317) 769-7503