Benefit raises nearly $20K for Ofc. Clarke's family - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Benefit raises nearly $20K for Ofc. Clarke's family

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By: Megan Palera

Hundreds of headed to the Firefighter's Union Hall Monday night to remember Lincoln Police Officer John Clarke.

The building was packed and the cash kept coming in as the community raised money for the family he left behind - a wife and three kids.

"It goes to the strength and the bond of law enforcement community and the community at large that can come and support not only one of their law enforcement officers, but John Clarke and his family," Asst. Chief Brian Jackson said.

Clarke died unexpectedly in February after suffering a heart attack at the gym. He was the leader of the department's K-9 Unit and a 21-year veteran on the force. As friends and family shared memories of their time with Clarke, many said he will always be remembered as...

"A large teddy bear I guess in my eye," Jackson said.

"He was a big teddy bear. He was a big boy but he was the most kind, gentle hearted person," Officer Julie Pucket said.

The benefit included food, raffle tickets and a silent auction. While people placed their bids, Clarke's 11-year-old son, Colton sat at the table with the big boys. A group of Husker football players surprised Colton by signing a football for him and sharing laughs.

"We know it's a tough time in his life right now so we come to show him that we're here for him," Nebrask Jr. Safety Harvey Jackson said.

It was an hour Colton will never forget and a happy memory that also belongs to his dad.

"It was awesome. Even though we're celebrating a death, it's still really cool. It was nice of them to do this," Colton said.

The benefit raised between $18-$20,000 for the Clarke family.

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