Police officers risk their lives every day and while danger is part of the job description, it takes a major toll on the officer’s family. There are long hours and the constant fear that something will go wrong when a loved one is on duty. And, if a tragic event occurs, a family will have have to deal with the aftermath forever.
When Officer Eric Joering and Officer Anthony Morelli were on duty on February 10, 2018, they responded to a hang up 9-1-1 call and were fatally shot on the scene.
In the midst of the grief that both the families are facing, Otterbein University in Ohio decided to offer them something that would help their futures. The university offered Joering’s four daughters a four-year, full-ride scholarship to the Ohio school.
“Tuition support for the Joering children was a spontaneous and unanimous decision identified by Otterbein’s senior leadership,” Otterbein University President Kathy Krendl said. “Our entire Westerville community is rallying to extend love and kindness in the midst of this tragedy. Ensuring access to an education is the most meaningful gift Otterbein can provide.”
In addition to the free tuition, the Westerville City Council members voted to retire Joering’s K-9, Sam, so he can live with the late officer’s family.
Officer Joering was 39-years-old and a 16-year veteran of the Westerville Police Department and Anthony Morelli was 54-years-old and had spent 30 years on the force. The tragic incident occurred when the officers entered a townhome in a Columbus suburb.
“These were two of the best we have,” said Police Chief Joe Morbitzer, who is calling them ‘true American heroes.’ “This was their calling.”
The Westerville community is devastated by the loss of the department’s two dedicated officers. Several residents are offering prayers and support, including Ohio Governor John Kasich, who shared the following tweet…
“Very saddened to learn of the deaths of two of my hometown police officers.”
Kasich went on to ask Ohio residents to join him in ‘lifting up these officers’ families in prayer.’
President Trump also made it clear that he was sending prayers their way…
“My thoughts and prayers are with the two police officers, their families, and everybody at the @WestervillePD,” Trump tweeted.
Thirty-year-old Quentin Smith, who was wounded when he exchanged fire, is responsible for the deaths of the officers and is being charged with aggravated murder in the killings. He is being held without bail.
On March 6th, Kasich will give his last State of the State address at Otterbein University, a liberal arts school in Westerville.
Commenters shared their praise for the school’s generous offer…
“Class act from Otterbein University. Great thing to do. Why is the shooter still ALIVE??”