Lyndell’s honors Collier with $6,200 check as family seeks first responder holiday
A three-day fundraiser last month resulted in $6,200 for the Somerville Auxiliary Police Department Sean Collier Memorial Scholarship Fund, but the brother of the slain MIT police officer is aiming for more: a national holiday for first responders.
The fundraiser was held Oct. 25-27 by Lyndell’s Bakery in Ball Square, Somerville. The bakery sold versions of its famed half-moon cakes customized with “Somerville Police” written on them in icing to honor Collier, a Somerville resident killed April 18 by two brothers from Cambridge accused of engaging in terrorism.
A dollar from every $2 half moon sold was donated to the fund, said Dave Galatis, of the 126-year-old bakery’s founding family. There were also raffles of Boston sports memorabilia, Lyndell’s gifts and more.
The proceeds were to help high school seniors in Somerville achieve Collier’s dream of joining a municipal police force.
Galatis thanked his customers and the community “for all their help donating to this great cause.”
Collier, 26, was shot in his cruiser, apparently ambushed before the affable, devoted officer got the chance to unholster a firearm, two months from a likely job offer from Somerville police earned by a high score on the civil service exam; he was appointed to the force posthumously. Vice President Joe Biden, Gov. Deval Patrick, city, state and federal officials and law enforcement personnel from around the country attended an April 24 memorial service for Collier. James Taylor performed, and some 15,000 seats were filled as the officer was honored.
Galatis said he got the idea for the fundraiser after running into Collier’s brother, Rob. But it’s another brother, Andrew Collier, whose name is prominent in a change.org petition seeking signatures for the national holiday.
“Sean’s involvement in the community, his love for the people he was protecting and the principles he showed right until the time of his death are a model of exceptional public service and an example of how we all should live every day,” Andrew Collier said in promoting the petition. “I can’t bring Sean back. But as a nation we can make a commitment to honoring the people who give so much to help our communities.”
He cited people who had “dedicated themselves to a life in the emergency response field, including police, firefighters and EMS” and cited their heroism in dealing with such events as terrorist attacks, school shootings, wildfires “and too many other recent tragedies … and facing danger for our protection in every community, every day.”
There are 10 federal holidays, including two that honor soldiers and veterans – May’s Memorial Day and the just-commemorated Veterans Day. Andrew Collier’s efforts to convince Congress to declare an 11th began in June. He’s seeking 100,000 signatures and as of mid-November has 28,612, or about 29 percent of the total.
The most recent federal holiday declared is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which was proposed in 1968, voted in Congress for the first time in 1979, signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1983 and first celebrated in 1986 – but slow adoption by some states meant it was celebrated nationwide for the first time in 1999, according to The King Center. Along the way, there were two petition drives – the first, with 3 million signatures, failed to inspire congressional action.
The second petition had 6 million signatures, The King Center says.
The petition for a first responders holiday is here.