WESTERVILLE, OH (WCMH) – A group of women from Westerville are organizing a memorial run for Officer Tony Morelli and Officer Eric Joering.
They’re a part of the running club MRTT/SRTT (Moms Run This Town/She Runs This Town). Everyone is invited to join in on the run. It begins at 5am on Wednesday, Feb. 14 at the Westerville Police Station. There’s no sign-up required or fee. Organizers said they just want to show their support to the officers and their community.
“We run early. We run late,” Kristen O’Connor said. “They’re always looking out for us and that’s why it’s personal for me because I know they’re taking care of us, keeping us safe.”
Despite never having met Officer Morelli or Officer Joering, O’Connor said she feels a personal connection to the men and women who serve and protect the community.
“We’re coming from it from a place of being a mom and being wife and just trying to support them in whatever way that we can,” she said.
The Westerville MRTT group had a Valentine’s Day run planned for Wednesday, but changed it to a memorial run to honor the Westerville officers killed in the line of duty.
“Our end goal is just to know that the families are cared for,” said Beth Stanley. “For the families to know that they’re supported and to be encouraged to know that they’re loved and that we appreciate what their husbands, their dads, their friends did to protect us and to serve us on a daily basis.”
Stanley said they’re expecting at least 50 people to come out to run, dressed in blue clothing and lights to show their support.
“We want to do our part. We’re a group of women. We’re a group of moms for the most part and we just know it’s important to stand up and do what’s right and make a difference,” she said.
If you’d like to join the run, meet at the Westerville Police station before 5am on Wednesday. You can walk or run various lengths of the route. A donation is not required, but the group is collecting gift cards, money and flowers that will go directly to the officers’ families.
MRTT sub-groups around Columbus also plan on a holding similar memorial runs in their own communities.