Westport police, family, friends walk in memory of sergeant
WESTPORT — Myer #6920, a team walking in memory of Westport Police Sgt. Robert Myer, raised more than $15,000 to support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention at the Oct. 23 Out of the Darkness Westport Walk at Sherwood Island State Park.
Myer died on May 4 at his Newtown home. His death was ruled a suicide.
The team, organized by Myer’s widow Elizabeth and his siblings, included 15 to 20 of his fellow officers on the force, according to Westport Police Benevolent Association President Officer Brendan Fearon.
“It was a humbling experience,” he said. “You never realize how many people share common tragedy like that.”
Walking helped bring a little more closure to Myer’s loss and the department “to heal a little as a group,” Fearon said, as well as the chance to support Myer’s family, part of the police’s “big extended family.”
At Elizabeth Myer’s request, Fearon organized officers from the department to walk and fundraise. On walk day, they discussed what needs to be done moving forward to help police officers, first responders, veterans and civilians combat life’s stress-causing elements and get help, with the goal of preventing suicides, he said.
“There was a common theme we saw in Bobby’s death that it was unnoticed,” Fearon said, calling Myer full of life and laughter, never seeming depressed.
Myer #6920’s 37 members raised $16,545 to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, according to an online total, the most of any Westport team as of Nov. 2.
“The Myer team and the law enforcement in Westport, as well, are really trying to make a difference,” said Southern Connecticut Area Director Sharon Pelkey.
Pelkey, who met and became close with Elizabeth Myer after her husband’s suicide, said her main concern on walk day was to support the team.
At the walk, Elizabeth Myer was among the main speakers and participated in the “honor bead” ceremony, representing those who have lost a spouse to suicide, according to Pelkey.
Colored “honor beads” are used at the walk to indicate loss of a child, spouse or partner, parent, sibling, relative or friend, or first responder or military. Other colors represent support for the cause, a personal struggle or having friends or family who have struggled.
The Out of the Darkness Westport Walk had 814 participants and had raised $135,956 as of Nov. 2. Fundraising is open until December and, combined with additional donations and matching grants, Pelkey expects the finalized total to reach well over $136,000.
Elizabeth Myer’s donation page can be found at http://afsp.donordrive.com /index.cfm?fuseaction= donorDrive.participant& participantID=1004302.