This past September, the annual four-day Tour de Force cycling event concluded at the Boston Marathon finish line in honor of fallen MIT Officer Sean Collier. Ultimately, well over 300 police officers from across the country — and from as far away as Europe — rode in the event to raise money for the Sean A. Collier Memorial Fund.
On Thursday, Jan. 9, the New York chapter of Tour de Force — a group established in 2002 to sustain the memory of those lost in the 9/11 terrorist attacks that has since raised funds for the families of officers killed in the line of duty — presented a $35,000 check to the Collier Fund at an event held at Eastern Standard in Kenmore Square.
The event was attended by Israel Ruiz, MIT’s executive vice president and treasurer; John DiFava, director of facilities operations and security at MIT; Sgt. Richard Sullivan of the MIT Police; Boston Mayor Martin Walsh; Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans; and other members of the MIT and law-enforcement communities.
According to Ruiz, nearly $500,000 has been raised for the Collier Fund. The funds are expected to be used for a permanent memorial on campus, which is slated to break ground on April 18, the one-year anniversary of Collier’s death; a scholarship in his name at MIT (to be awarded beginning this spring); and a scholarship at the Massachusetts Police Academy.
Additionally, the annual Collier Medal will be given each year to either an individual or group who “embodies the character and qualities that Officer Collier exhibited as a member of the MIT community and in all aspects of his life,” according to an email Ruiz sent to the MIT community on Nov. 25. Nominations for the award are being accepted through today, and the first Collier Medal will be presented during the MIT Excellence Awards on Feb. 25 at Kresge Auditorium.
“In establishing MIT’s permanent memorial and in awarding the medal and scholarships, we honor and celebrate Officer Collier’s life, and strengthen the culture of caring that is the heart of our communities and distinguishes us from terrorists and murderers,” Ruiz said at yesterday’s event.
“The magnitude of the support is unmatched in my experience, and the MIT community takes great comfort in the empathy exhibited by all that join us in our sorrow as we remember Officer Sean Collier,” Ruiz added.
DiFava echoed Ruiz’s sentiments, adding that it was poignant to see Boston’s new mayor, the local law-enforcement community, and representatives of MIT come together on Thursday to continue to honor Collier’s memory.
“In my 40 years in law enforcement, I don’t think I’ve ever been more touched and affected by the outpouring of kindness that there has been,” DiFava said of the response to Collier’s death. “It’s been incredible and wonderful to see this amount of support.”