Dear Members of the Otterbein Community:
On Saturday, the Westerville community suffered a tragic loss when two Westerville Police officers, Eric Joering, 39, and Anthony Morelli, 54, were killed in the line of duty.
The Otterbein University Community offers its sincere condolences to the men and women of the Westerville Police Department, their families, and friends during this difficult time. These brave officers gave their lives protecting others, and their loss will be felt deeply. I invite all members of the Otterbein community to keep all those affected by this tragedy, and indeed all of our first responders, in your thoughts and prayers.
Otterbein is a safer place because of the brave men and women of the Westerville Police Department and their close relationship with our own Otterbein Police Department. This is a small community, and our first responders are our friends and neighbors.
This week, Otterbein will be going blue to honor these officers. We encourage you to wear blue to show your support, and the Service Department will be changing lights to blue across campus.
While we have extended our condolences and support on behalf of Otterbein, there are a number of ways in which individuals can pay tribute.
Members of our community will be tying blue ribbons along the streets running through campus this afternoon. If you are interested in assisting with this effort, please meet in front of Towers Hall at 3:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 12.
The students of the African American Student Union and Otterbein University Student Government are hosting a candlelight vigil at 8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 12, at the Rock. All are welcome to attend.
Later this week, we will ask members of our community to sign a banner that we will present to the Westerville Police Department. Details will come later.
You are also invited to attend community events. The City of Westerville will hold a candlelight vigil at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 13, at First Responders Park, 374 W. Main Street. Additionally, the car that Officer Morelli was driving is parked in front of City Hall in Uptown Westerville in tribute to both of the officers. Members of the community are invited to share cards, flowers or other condolences at that memorial.
Thank you for joining with me and the Otterbein Community in showing your support to the men and women who keep us safe every day. We honor their commitment and sacrifice to our community.