Centennial Bank presented the family of fallen Conway officer Will McGary with a $1,000 check Thursday afternoon to help fund the family’s trip to National Police Week in Washington, D.C. in May.
The McGary family will make the trek the week of May 12 to see the fallen Conway officer’s name added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. The memorial — featuring two curving, 304-foot blue-gray marble walls — bears the names of more than 19,000 officers who have been killed in the line of duty since 1791.
The announcement came two days prior to the one-year anniversary of McGary’s death.
McGary was struck by a vehicle while directing traffic at an accident on Dave Ward Drive on Jan. 31, 2013. McGary died of injuries Feb. 1.
Chief of Police A.J. Gary expressed the entire police department’s gratitude for Centennial Bank and chairman Johnny Allison at the Thursday press conference.
"Centennial Bank, and Mr. Allison have supported [the police department] for many years, especially this year," he said.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Troy Braswell also admired the efforts of Centennial Bank.
"Every time this community needs them, they are there," Braswell said.
After presenting the family with the donation, Centennial Bank marketing director Eric King said the bank would continue to help the McGary family in anyway possible in the future.
In July, Centennial Bank presented The Blue Crew, established to raise funds for the Officer Will McGary Memorial Fund, with a $2,400 donation to help purchase a memorial bracelet — that commemorated McGary — for all Conway officers, as well as help officers attend a Ralphie May comedy show to benefit the McGary Memorial Fund.
"We love being a part of the community, and sometimes we wish it could be under better situations, but we honor and applaud [the McGary family]," King said.
In addition to Centennial Bank’s donation, the McGary family was selected by the Barwick Newton National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund to receive monetary help in making the journey to National Police Week. The Barwick Newton Fund was established in 2004 to help the families of fallen officers travel to Washington, D.C. to take part in the national memorial dedication.
As a token of appreciation and to continue to support the Barwick Newton Fund, a group of Conway officers — headed by officers Paul Burnett and Chris Buss — are sponsoring a benefit spaghetti dinner at 6 p.m. Feb. 28 at the Brick Room event center at 1020 Front St.
All proceeds from the night will go toward the Barwick Newton Fund to allow it to continue to support the families of fallen officers.
Limited tickets are available at www.bluecrewarkansas.org, or at the Conway Police Department. Tickets to the event, which includes entertainment, are $14.74 for adults, and $4.74 for children 10 and under. Officer Burnett said the idea to include 474, McGary’s badge number, in the prices was thought of by McGary’s girlfriend, Melody Erickson, who is also The Blue Crew founder.
(Staff writer Lee Hogan can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1246. Follow Lee Hogan on Twitter at twitter.com/LCD_LeeHogan.)