March 29th, 2006

Thanks…

roddy_snap.jpg
Roddy Burke, June 1997.

…To everyone who has written me to express their condolences on the death of my old college buddy, Roddy Burke. It’s been a very difficult few days for Roddy’s family and friends here in Washington, and I ask that you keep them in your prayers for another few days. Tonight, the family is heading back to Long Island for another memorial service, and they’re going to need all the strength that they can get.

Today’s service was incredible, and it helped to know that plenty of other folks felt the same way about Roddy, and how much we already miss him.

The toughest part of today’s service came at the conclusion, as Roddy’s casket was carried from the church. It was ironic in a way, as Roddy wasn’t the sort of person who would want anyone to make a fuss over him — and doesn’t it seem that’s always the case with a person who deserves that kind of sendoff?

There were rows of officers in dress uniform from all over the Washington metro area, so many it took about 10 minutes for all of them to file out of the church and onto the street outside. There was the playing of Taps and volleys of rifle fire. There was a helicopter fly-by. But most poigiant of all, there was a recording of the call Roddy made to 911 to report a stolen vehicle — the start of the sequence that led to his death last Thursday night.

Trust me when I say it’s one thing to read about the last moments of your friend’s life. But it’s another thing entirely to listen to it yourself.

I’ve written so much about Roddy over the past few days because I don’t want the world to forget who he was. I’m glad to see that the Metropolitan Police Department will be doing their part to make that happen. They’ll be retiring Roddy’s badge, and renaming a police substation in his honor. And the next class of the department’s police academy that begins next month will be dedicated to his memory.

And after talking to some of my former classmates, and making some initial inquiries with our alma mater, it looks like we’ll be creating something more permanent as well. According to the folks at Catholic University, it will take $50,000 to fund a scholarship in perpituity to Roddy’s memory, and a number of us will be moving quickly in the next two weeks in order to get the ball rolling. If you’re interested in helping out, please send me an email.

Thanks for listening and for your good wishes. Now back to regularly scheduled sports blogging, already in progress…

UPDATE: Click here for the Washington Post account of Roddy’s service. And be sure to sign the guest book at Legacy.com. And for more memories of Roddy from the people he worked with, stop by the Yahoo message board for the MPD’s 3D Substation. Here’s just one:

Sgt. Gerard W. Burke, Jr. was indeed a dedicated MPD Officer. He was dedicated to his work and was a friend of those who reside in the Park View Community and beyond. Sgt. Burke attended many of the neighborhood meetings in the Park View Neighborhood. He responded in a positive manner to “all” of our requests and concerns. He definitely understood the meaning of “Community Policing.” He fully understood the importance of the community and the Metropolitan Police Department working together on issues that affected the residents. It was indeed a pleasure working with Sgt. Burke. He will surely be missed.

Buddy Moore

Thanks to Columbia Heights News for the pointer.

Once again, thanks to all of Rod’s brother officers for all they’ve done in the past few days for his family and friends, and for all that they continue to do on the streets of the city.

UPDATE: For some reason, the Washington Post link to Roddy’s Legacy page isn’t working. Click here for the Newsday version.

One Response to “Thanks…”

  1. gerbo51 says:

    Eric, just read your blog re Sgt Burke after reading Pat Dowd’s column. What a special person. It’s not hard to see why he was so loved. You two are so fortunate. You have gained another reader thanks to Sgt Burke and the world is a better place because of him. We all mourn but celebrate his life. God bless you all.

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