TUPELO, MISS. (WCBI) – It has been a little more than one month since a Tupelo police officer was killed and his partner wounded by a bank robber.
Although the suspect was killed later that week during a bank robbery in Phoenix, the story certainly doesn’t end there. As WCBI’s Allie Martin reports, residents throughout Tupelo, the area and even the state have come to the aid of the fallen officers’ family and the patrolman who continues his recovery.
The latest community wide event to help Officer Joseph Maher and his family and the family of slain Sergeant Gale Stauffer brought hundreds to Buffalo Wild Wings Monday evening for a fundraiser pitting police officers against firefighters in games of skill and a messy chicken wing eating contest.
The Tupelo Police Department is organizing a hunting trip for Officer Maher, and a vacation for the family of Sergeant Gale Stauffer.
“Our goal is to raise about six thousand dollars,” said Lt. Michael Russell.
That will take care of the hunting trip and the vacation. Along with Buffalo Wild Wings, several other businesses, such as Papa John’s Meineke Car Care Center and Mary McGuire’s Cakes and Confections have also donated to the effort.
A local grocery store is helping in another way. Todd';s Big Star Owner Bob Knight was contacted by a fellow grocer in Mississippi, who wanted to send some money for Officer Maher and his family, and the Stauffer family. So Knight created an account for both families, to help with grocery expenses.
“They’ve got a little credit card, they come in and buy groceries and hopefully they have a two years supply, we kind of govern it on a hundred dollars a week for two years,” Knight said.
Anyone can donate to the Stauffer/Maher fund at Todd’s. Donations will be split evenly between the two families. Knight says he has received donations from locals, and even from folks out of town because of news stories in various media outlets.
Plans call for the grocery fund to be ongoing.
“Hopefully we can extend this out for a year or two, just to help the families get on their feet,” Knight said.
Fellow officers say the community support is staggering.
“This community, I’m so proud to be a part of it, I’m overwhelmed with the way the community has come out and supported us,” said TPD Officer Chamila Brown.
That support no doubt will continue as a community moves forward, while honoring those who sacrifice so much.
If you would like to donate to the Maher/Stauffer Fund at Todd’s, send a check or money order to;
Todd’s Big Star, 1400 W. Main St, Tupelo, MS 38801