Calling on race participants to be brave in the face of fear, the widow of a fallen police officer welcomed runners at yesterday’s Joe Szczerba Memorial 5K at Salesianum School.
Kathy Szczerba offered heartfelt remarks, bringing a few of the hundreds of race participants to tears as she remembered her husband’s life of service. And she asked participants not to focus on how Joe’s life ended but rather the manner in which “one humble man who just wanted to be a police officer” lived his life.
Joe Szczerba, a 1985 graduate of Salesianum School, proudly served for 18 years with the New Castle County Police. He was killed in the line of duty on September 16, 2011, and the school has held a scholarship run in his honor every year since.
“Joe Szczerba was a good guy doing good things in his community. His legacy is much more about how he lived all of the other days of his life than the last day he lived,” said Kathy Szczerba.
Thanking the crowd for honoring his memory, Szczerba offered advice about perspective. “Care perhaps more than others think wise. Dream more than others may believe practical. Expect more than others may think possible,” she said.
Thursday’s run with more than 600 participants raised close to $25,000 for the Lt. Joseph L. Szczerba ’85 Memorial Scholarship, a financial aid program which benefits Salesianum students, including sons of police officers and first responders.
Congratulations to the top Open and Masters winners, recognized by Barb Kursh off Races2Run.com:
#1 Male Open and Overall: Collin Lenoir, 22, of Wilmington
#1 Female Open: Bridget Sullivan, 16, of Wilmington
#1 Male Masters: Mike Donnelly, 48, of Wilmington
#1 Female Masters: El Jones, 58, of Elkton, MD
New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer also spoke at the run, appreciating the opportunity to honor the men and women who serve. “Every minute of every day, even right now, police officers are out, wearing their uniform, working hard for all of us. They are protecting and serving here in Wilmington, up and down the state, and around the country. Sadly, nearly every week a uniformed officer in our country pays the ultimate sacrifice. We are here to look back and honor one of the finest young men ever to serve our county.”
Referring to Lt. Szczerba’s life an outstanding example for others, New Castle County Police Col. Vaughn M. Bond, Jr., remembered Lt. Szczerba as a kind and compassionate person who cared for people, loved animals, and had a high respect for people who work to keep our community safe. “Joe is still deeply missed. But today’sgreat turnout is a true a testament to the way that Joe lived his life – always contributing to and bettering the lives of others.”
Photography by Karen Brooks