|Officer Michael J. Crawshaw|
On December 6th, 2009, Penn Hills (PA) Police Officer Michael J. Crawshaw, tragically lost his life responding to a “shots fired” call in a suburb just east of Pittsburgh. When arriving at the scene, the gunman cowardly fired into the windshield of Mike’s radio car before Mike had a chance to exit. Mike was ambushed with no opportunity to defend himself.
Mike was one of my closest friends and has been so since we were kids. Mike was a very special young man. He was an incredible son, grandson, brother, uncle and friend. He loved life and the people around him even more. He was dependable, caring and honest.
Mike was everything that we should respect in a human being.
Needless to say, Mike’s death was devastating. As a friend, not only did I have to deal with the grief of losing someone I cared about so deeply but I also had to witness his family suffer through unimaginable pain as a result of this tragedy. A family that absolutely did not deserve the fate they were handed that cold December night.
The day after Mike’s funeral, all of Mike’s closest childhood friends met at Mike’s grave and decided to do whatever it takes to make sure Mike’s memory and, equally as important, Mike’s family never be forgotten. One of our first ideas was to petition Shaler Township, the town we grew up in, to rename a park or a field after Mike. We chose a baseball field located in the heart of the town and presented our idea to the Shaler Township Board of Commissioners. Unanimously, they agreed and Michael J. Crawshaw Memorial Field became the new name of the field we played baseball on as children. Furthermore, we created the Michael J. Crawshaw Memorial Fund. The objective of the fund was fund the construction of a permanent memorial in Mike’s name at the baseball field.
After two years of fundraising and with the support of hundreds of volunteers and donors, our dream came true on April 14th, 2012. With the support of Shaler Township, we unveiled a large memorial that stands behind the players benches at the field. Carved into the front of the memorial is three pictures of Mike; one of him in his little league uniform, one in his high football uniform and a picture of Mike as an adult. The wording on the front speaks to why Mike deserves to always be remembered for his act of bravery and the back is a reminder that Mike is always with us, no matter where our lives shall take us.
The Memorial Fund will continue on in Mike’s name, with proceeds helping to create better and safer fields for kids to play on as well as continuing to provide support to various youth initiatives throughout our hometown. The last two years have been difficult to say the least but it has also allowed me to see the truly best in people. People who have made major sacrifices to help the idea of a memorial become reality. The memorial not only stands for a great young man who we lost way too early, it also symbolizes the love and passion for him that was shared by so many people.
More information about the Officer Michael J. Crawshaw Memorial Fund is available at: http://www.facebook.com/crawshaw.memorial.fund.