The Oxford community, and some from far beyond, have rallied around the family of Oxford police officer Pete Durkin, who lost his home in a Dec. 14 fire.
Durkin, his wife Desi and their pets escaped the devastating fire that also destroyed their belongings.
After the Oxford police department took to Facebook to tell the Durkins’ story, the area responded with a fundraiser on Dec. 23, and other gifts and well-wishes have flooded in.
Here are three things you should know about the Durkins’ story and the community response.
1. A 13-cent gift. Durkin said an 8-year-old Talawanda student sent one of the most moving gestures.
“It was just a small envelope,” he said. “You could tell it was written by a kid and it had 13 cents in it, and we cried.”
2. Durkin returned to work the day after the fire. The Durkins lost their home and all of their possessions, but a day after the fire, Durkin, who has been in law enforcement for 22 years, turned out to volunteer at Christmas Caravan, an annual charity event organized by Fraternal Order of Police Hamilton, Ohio Lodge 38.
“At that point we really just weren’t thinking of taking care of our needs,” said Durkin, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served in Operation Desert Storm. “It just felt like it was the right thing to do at the time.”
3. Fundraising efforts. The community quickly organized a Dec. 23 fundraiser at Fiesta Charra in uptown Oxford to raise money for the family, organizing more than 35 donated raffle and silent auction items. The restaurant donated 10 percent of all revenue from the event to the Durkins.
Community members also reached out to Oxford police department via phone, email and social media, with many dropping off cash, checks and gift cards for the Durkins, police officials said.
A GoFundMe page called “Fire Relief for Pete and Desi Durkin” at www.gofundme.com/ofc-pete-durkin-family-fire has raised more than $6,000 of its $10,000 goal as of Monday.
Donations of cash, checks or gift cards are being accepted by Oxford Division of Police, 11 South Poplar St. in Oxford. Checks should be made payable to Pete Durkin.