BOSTON (CBS) – It’s been nearly a year since MIT Police Officer Sean Collier was shot and killed in Cambridge, sparking the hunt for the marathon bombing suspects. While the pain of losing Officer Collier is enormous, his family is determined to live on for him.
To donate: Team Collier Strong
“He definitely had a calling,” Sean’s mother Kelley told WBZ-TV’s Lauren Leamanczyk. “From the time he could really verbalize, he wanted to be a policeman.”
The man Sean Collier would become was evident to his mother even when he was a boy.
“Of course that was back during the Gulf War and so everyone had flags everywhere and he had to salute every flag when he went by,” Kelley said. “If he was in the car, he had to salute.”
One year after the MIT police officer’s murder, there is gratitude he got to fulfill that calling and frustration over what might have been. “There’s also a very deep sadness that his life got chopped down at such a young age,” Kelley says. “And what would he have accomplished had he lived.”
The honors for Officer Collier have piled up at the family’s home. Some framed others waiting to be. But it’s over a cup of tea and coffee. With frequent bursts of laughter that another sort of tribute takes place.
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“The best times have been when we’re sitting around the table and telling our stories about Sean,” his sister Jen Lemmerman says.
“There was a lot of stories that I didn’t know,” Sean’s mother said laughing.
It’s memories that keep his brother Rob Rogers and sister Jenn Rogers going. They’re training to run the Boston Marathon with Team Collier Strong.
“So when the opportunity came to run the marathon I said, oh that’s something that Sean would want to do,” Rob said. “So I jumped into it and just wanted to train and do all the stuff, things that he would do.”
Sean was one of six kids, but he found his second family at MIT where his brother and sister officers have vowed to keep his memory alive.
“He fit right in,” MIT Police Chief John DiFava said. “He fit the job like a hand in a glove.” Chief DiFava had a special relationship with Sean who he hired as a young recruit. “I think that we were very lucky to have him,” DiFava said. “We were the winners and any chief that can find someone like Sean Collier is a lucky police administrator.”
The department showed their solidarity by standing at attention outside the suspect’s arraignment at the federal courthouse. A temporary memorial has been set up on campus. A more permanent structure is coming soon, and they’ve sponsored a scholarship in Collier’s honor.
As a year approaches, the department is still in mourning.
“It’s going to be hard,” Chief DiFava said. “It’s going to be 12 months, but it feels like it was 12 hours ago that he was murdered.”
For Sean’s family, the time has dragged slowly. In Sean’s life he left so much to be proud of, his brothers and sisters now determined to make their lives his legacy.
“He did everything the best he could,” Jen Lemmerman said. “If he was going to do it, he was going to do it right. And he can’t do that anymore so I want to kind of try to make sure that I’m doing that.”
“It’s something I think about just about every day, you know how I show up and what can I do to make Sean proud of me,” Jenn Rogers said.
For more information visit Team Collier Strong.
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