TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI)- The last few months haven’t been easy for Officer Joseph Maher.
On December 23, 2013, Maher was responding to a bank robbery when he was shot in the face. Fellow Officer Sgt. Gale Stauffer was killed. Since then, Maher’s felt nothing but love.
“I cried the first time they told me about it. It’s truly an honor for them to think of me and do this for me and my family. We’ve gotten several phone calls, visits. Several home cooked meals have been brought to us. Constantly people are checking on us and seeing if we need anything. It’s just an example of how good people have been to us,” said Maher.
And that generosity continued Friday when leaders at the Police Athletic League presented Officer Maher with his dream dear hunt package.
“He’s a huge duck hunter, huge outdoorsman and we really wanted to start this idea as something to give him some drive, some motivation to get better and something to look forward to. And the community was just so generous! We just kept getting more and more and so we were also able to raise the funds for Sgt. Stauffer’s family to take a much needed vacation as well,” said Lt. Michael Russel.
For Sgt. Stauffer’s wife Beth, the kindness of the community nearly renders her speechless.
“It’s hard to put into words sometimes. I’m thankful. Gale would be beaming. I’m overwhelmed, excited, humbled. I’m blessed beyond measure,” said Stauffer.
Since her husbands death, Stauffer’s received nothing but love from his brothers in blue.
“If i’m having a bad day or need somebody to talk to, because Gale was my touchstone, I call them and say, ‘I’m having a bad day, come help me out. I need you,’ and they’re there and they make me feel like i’m part of the family,” said Stauffer.
For both families, this show of support and love makes each day a little bit easier, and Officer Maher can’t wait to use his new gear.
“I hope to try some of it out as soon as I get home. We’re suppose to go on a trip to hunt in November, so, it’s going to be awesome,” said Maher.
Both Ofc. Stauffer’s wife and the Maher family say they can’t thank the Tupelo community enough for all of their thoughts and prayers.