MIDLAND PARK, N.J. -- The widow of a Midland Park police officer killed in an ATV crash last Fourth of July weekend is selling t-shirts that she designed to raise money for a school for children with developmental disabilities.
Officer Christopher Birch loved to patrol the CTC Academy, his wife, Karen, wrote on a YouCaring fundraising page .
"Children and special education was something Chris cared deeply about and CTC Academy was near and dear to his heart," she said. "Chris loved walking the hallways at CTC, having the opportunity to bond with the students and talking with the teachers and staff."
He had a special bond with a boy named Alex ( photo above ).
"Chris would escort him down the hallway to class," Karen Birch wrote. "[T]hey would chat and smile to each other and it brightened both of their days up immediately. That's pretty amazing to have a police escort to class!
"CTC Academy will soon be relocating to a brand new facility in Oakland," she added, "and because they are a non-profit school they can use ALL of the help that they can get.
"The funds raised for CTC Academy will not only contribute to the expensive equipment that the students need but will also provide the school with extra support to be able to make sure that each individual at this school gets the best therapy that they possibly can."
Karen Birch also hopes to raise enough money to sponsor a hallway in the new school dedicated to Chris.
The couple had been married only three months when Birch failed to negotiate a turn on his four-wheeled ATV near a friend’s Pennsylvania vacation home. He died at the scene from multiple traumatic injuries.
The 31-year-old Wyckoff native, a Kean University graduate, joined the department in January 2007 after working as a special police officer in North Haledon. Weeks before the crash, he participated in the MPPD’s leg of the Special Olympics Torch Run.
"Not only did NJ police departments and the surrounding communities face this tragic loss, but a very special school in Midland Park felt the emptiness inside their hearts and hallways too," Karen Birch wrote.
TO GET A T-SHIRT/DONATE: https://www.youcaring.com/fundraiser-543287
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