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Phone bank raises funds for fallen officers

Caleb James
March 16, 2017 10:18 PM

A KOB phone bank with the Ten-82 Foundation has raised nearly $9,000 for the families of slain Navajo Nation police officer Houston Largo and Valencia County Sheriff deputy Ryan Thomas, who was killed in a car crash on duty in December 2016. 

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Part of those donations will allow Thomas's widow to attend the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington D.C., to see her husband's name added alongside thousands of others lost in the line of duty.

Viewers have asked the question: why is it necessary to raise money for families of these fallen officers? In many cases, families make up a household completely dependent on that single person. The officer's sudden death often comes with many unforeseen challenges.  

"His co-worker showed up at my doorstep and I thought it was him coming home," Joyce Thomas said in a KOB interview in December. 

It is difficult to comprehend how the world changed when Thomas opened her front door in December. Suddenly a single mom, her husband killed when he crashed his squad car responding to a call.

In a moment, the world came crashing down on Joyce. The couple's baby boy has been born since Ryan's death. She's even been hit with bills for the medical helicopter response that never transported her husband. 

"She has to deal with everything the head of the household would usually deal with," said Ryan Tafoya, the trustee of the Ten-82 Foundation. "Medical expenses, dealing with the insurance companies. Although this was on on-duty death, there's still the medical bills that have to be paid."

The foundation raises money for the families of officers killed in the line of duty. 

In time, certain bills like the helicopter response will likely be reimbursed by the county, but Tafoya said the immediate financial loss makes it impossible for the family to travel to Washington D.C. for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial where Thomas will be honored along with more than 100 officers killed in the line of duty last year. The list includes Hatch Police officer Jose Chavez, and Alamogordo officer Clint Corvinus.

It isn't in Valencia County's budget to pay her way, but they're reaching out for help. 

"We want to help her go so she's not worried about that," Tafoya said. "She can focus on things that are more important like her two children." 

For more about the Ten-82 Foundation and how to donate, click here.

Credits

Caleb James

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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