Tribute to a hero
Race honoring slain Brentwood officer to benefit memorial scholarship
Union Leader Correspondent |
January 19. 2015 6:48PM
A race organized in memory of Brentwood officer Stephen Arkell will pass by this memorial that sits along Route 107 in Brentwood, near the scene of last May's deadly shooting. (JASON SCHREIBER/Union Leader Correspondent)
BRENTWOOD — In the difficult days that followed the shooting death of Brentwood officer Stephen Arkell last May, officer Josh Turner began thinking about someday holding a memorial race for his friend and fellow officer.
A part-time officer like Arkell, Turner is an avid runner and has participated in the Chief Maloney Unity Run, an event organized after Greenland Police Chief Michael Maloney was fatally shot in 2012.
“I wanted to do something to create a lasting memory for Steve,” said Turner, who’s been a part-time Brentwood officer for 10 years and would often see the 48-year-old Arkell when they changed shifts.
Turner first suggested the race last fall when the police department began making plans to raise money to fund their trip to Washington, D.C., in May to attend National Police Week and a ceremony at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, where Arkell’s name will appear on the Wall of the Fallen.
Other officers liked the idea and Turner was asked to organize the race.
After a lot of planning, the first Officer Stephen Arkell Community 5K Race is now planned for April 4.
It will begin at noon at the Brentwood Recreation Center on Route 125 and will be open to both runners and walkers.
Arkell was shot and killed on May 12, 2014, when he responded to a verbal dispute between Michael Nolan and his father at their home on Mill Pond Road.
Authorities said Nolan, who was later found dead after an explosion at the home, opened fire on Arkell when he entered the residence.
When it appeared that enough money would be collected through other fundraisers to support the Washington, D.C., trip, Turner spoke with Arkell’s wife, Heather, and others who agreed that it would be best to use the money from the race to fund a scholarship in Arkell’s name.
The scholarship will be given to a student entering college who shares the sense of community spirit, volunteerism and ethics that Arkell possessed.
“I think the bottom line is, Steve was just an all-around good guy. He was just your normal everyday guy. He was always there for you and he was always someone you could rely on,” Turner said.
With 140 people registered as of Monday, the upcoming race has already surpassed Turner’s goal of registering 100 participants and has raised $4,700.
He hopes the race becomes an annual event.
“It’s a way to continue Steve’s memory each year and it’s a way for the community to come together and remember him and the sacrifices he made and the contributions he made to the community,” he said.
Turner said Brentwood resident Curtis Grace, a former state representative, has also stepped forward to help out while others have also agreed to donate and volunteer their time for the event.
Brentwood Sgt. H.D. Wood IV, who is overseeing all fundraising, praised Turner for his work on the race.
“I can’t think of a more qualified person to head up this campaign. Josh is an avid runner and has a huge heart. He’s been very helpful to our guys over this difficult time both emotionally and physically,” Wood said.
The race will start at the Brentwood Recreation Center, where participants will follow a half-mile trail to Route 111A. From there, they’ll turn onto River Road and make their way to Route 107, where a small roadside memorial with Akell’s badge number, No. 87, was created in the days after the shooting. The route will then loop onto South Road. Runners and walkers will eventually make their way to Mill Road and then back to Route 111A and the trail leading to the recreation center where there will be music, food, awards and other activities.
Those interested in registering can find information at the website, www.officerarkell5K.org.