Broncos and Huskers Team Up to Honor LPD Officer

By: 10/11 Central Nebraska Email
By: 10/11 Central Nebraska Email
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Lincoln police officers say that when Officer John Clarke died suddenly while exercising earlier this year, it left a big hole in their department.

"He was kind of like his small town upbringing where he was very kind to anybody that he would meet," says Clarke's friend Sgt. Destry Jager. "He was a truly special person, he'd take the time out of his day to help anyone."

One of those people Clarke made time for was Hastings College freshman Taylor Samek. Samek says he met Clarke in high school when he volunteered for LPD. Clarke sat down with Samek to talk about pursuing a criminal justice career.

"It really meant a lot to me, so when I heard about his death I really wanted to do something," says Samek.

Samek worked with Hastings College and UNL to put together a charity basketball game - HC's men's team versus former Husker football players.

"I want to say thank you to all of them for being here and taking time out of their busy schedules to be here, but it's a pretty awesome thing," says LPD Investigator Chris Miller.

Funds raised will go to Clarke's family, including his son who got to coach the Husker squad.

Friends say it's overwhelming to have another community reach out to support.

"We're 100 miles away from Lincoln and people from this community are embracing John Clarke, the person he was, the professional he was," says LPD Investigator Justin Roach. "The fact that he had helped so many people throughout his career both personally and professionally I think goes a long ways."

Fellow officers say it's a tribute to how big on an impression people can leave on one another.

"To see somebody like Taylor Samek, who had little interaction with John compared to the rest of us, his friends and colleagues, take this initiative to set something up within Hastings College - it's very amazing," says Jager.

"John would've done this for anybody, any one of his friends, he would have gone above and beyond and that's exactly what I'm trying to do for him," says Samek.


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