CENTERBURG, OH (WCMH) — A local grocery store in Centerburg is remembering Officer Anthony Morelli and Officer Eric Joering on Saturday. Officer Joering was a Centerburg resident, where his family lives and his children go to school. The community is coming together to keep his memory going as they are trying to raise as much money as possible to give to his family.
A sign is raised above the doors of Hometown Market in Centerburg to let everyone know local Officer Eric Joering is a hero and he will not be forgotten.
Jan Hendrickson is the store manager, and has been at the store for 41 years.
“(Centerburg is a) Very small town, 2,000 people, but it’s come together like a huge town and we’re the heart of Ohio and I think we’ve proven that. They’re part of our community so we just want to make sure they’re taken care of.”
John Highley, a Centerburg firefighter, says many know Officer Eric Joering.
“Being a police officer, and with the fire department, we all know each other, so we’ve seen each other around. He’d been on his way home from work and stop at our car accidents and make sure everything was okay before the state highway patrol and things like that. We’ve all met him before and it’s an unfortunate loss for everyone around here.”
As another Centerburg firefighter adds, “Being the small community that Centerburg is, it really helps us know that the support is there for the police officers and for us as well.”
Ten cents from every gallon of gas sold along with 10 percent of all store sales go to the Joering family.
A customer who now lives in Centerburg but who is originally from Westerville says the loss of these two officers affects everyone.
“I think it’s a great thing for the community to come together like this to support our officers. It effects the whole United States, not only Ohio and Westerville.”
Everett Stopher has lived in Centerburg for the past 75 years.
“It’s terrible, it’s such a sad time, but I’m so proud to be part of a community that has this kind of love and support.”
“Having a daughter I know what it takes to raise a daughter especially with the 4 of them, 3 at home, there’s going to be a lot of expenses.. college so we need to make sure those kids are taken care of,” Hendrickson said.
“Home is where the heart is and this is our home,” Stopher added.
Residents say they will continue to stay strong and do everything they can to continue to support those who protect them.