ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – Hundreds gathered in Forest Park Friday night to remember a police officer, and support a program that tries to build a bond between cops and kids in the community.
Lt. Bobby Ceriotti was a St. Louis police officer with a larger than life personality. He died suddenly in November 2012 from a heart attack. But throughout his career, he always had a passion for the St. Louis Police Athletic League, known as PAL.
For the second year in a row, the Bobby Ceriotti Glow Run has raised money and awareness for PAL. St. Louis Police Major Jerry Leyshock says, “Bobby Ceriotti was one of my best friends. Half the people here were very close to him. He was a big supporter of PAL, he was always with us at the boxing gym and at all of our events there. He’d give anyone the shirt off his back; a tremendous human being.”
Every year, roughly 600 St. Louis kids participate in the Police Athletic League, in sports ranging from track and field to soccer, softball, basketball and boxing. Off-duty police officers serve as coaches and mentors, and the whole program is free for the young athletes.
“The big thing is for youngsters to see police officers away from the law enforcement arena, see that we’re regular people, and just to build up trust, a partnership with the community,” explains Leyshock.
Ceriotti’s two children say it means a lot to honor his memory in this way. Kati Ceriotti says, “We couldn’t ask for anything better to honor him, and he would love this. He would really appreciate everything that everyone’s done for us, so it keeps us going.” Her brother, Robby, adds, “We’re very humbled to have a run like this in his name.”
Organizers estimate the Glow Run raised at least $5,000 to benefit PAL. This athletic league was founded in St. Louis roughly 20 years ago.
Proceeds from the Glow Run benefit the St. Louis Police Athletic League.
More information: GlowRun5k.com/stl.html