When a law enforcement officer can no longer report for duty, leave it to the community to bring support to the front line.
Sherri Aaron, wife of Mansfield Police Chief Tracy Aaron, is the mastermind behind a fundraising event honoring the family of injured Fort Worth police officer Matt Pearce.
Pearce is recovering at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. He was shot multiple times last Tuesday during a foot chase. One suspect was shot and killed, and another has been charged with criminal attempt at capital murder.
Aaron and her team have organized a fundraiser for Monday with city police associations and various Chick-Fil-A restaurants across the area to raise money for the family of officer Pearce.
“Chick-Fil-A is very good about being able to do fundraisers like this,” Aaron said. “They really do support the men and women in blue in law enforcement.”
Aaron said she and her staff would like to raise $50,000 for Pearce’s family.
The restaurant locations are donating 20 percent of their sales between 5 and 9 p.m. on Monday to Pearce’s family. Aaron said some locations are donating 20 percent of their sales from the entire day.
T-shirts honoring the wounded officer will also be sold at the various restaurant locations. Donations for the family will also be accepted.
Aaron said the fundraiser will help support the officer’s family as he continues his recovery.
One reason this fundraiser is so important is because it focuses on helping the family of an officer who has been injured, which is different than if an officer is killed in the line of duty, Aaron said.
She said while there are many foundations that support families of officers who have been killed, that’s not always the case for those who are injured. Officers who are injured can receive worker’s compensation, but Aaron said that’s considered “nothing.”
“A lot of officers have to work part-time, so if an officer loses all of his part-time, it puts a financial burden on the entire family,” Aaron said. “This [support] will help relieve some of the financial burden while officer Pearce can hopefully make a full recovery.”
Aaron said many groups want to get behind the fundraiser and the family of Officer Pearce.
“When we first started preparing for the fundraiser, Burleson reached out to us expressing how much they wanted to be involved,”Aaron said. “Then, Benbrook contacted us, along with Fort Worth. It’s just been an outpouring of everyone wanting to help.”
Aaron said social media has been an effective way for people to show their support for the officer and his family.
“We chose the hashtag ‘#TeamPearce’ because we wanted people to take a picture with the shirt and tag it,” Aaron said. “It means so much to them to see everyone’s support and to see this event blossom throughout the community.”