ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. - A fallen officer’s extended work family is making sure his loved ones are not forgotten.
The St. Louis County Police Family Association is a 501(c )3 organization dedicated to serving the department’s employees and their families.
That includes responding to critical events, including the tragic loss of Ofc. James “Mitch” Ellis Ellis was on his way home from work last week when a car slammed into his vehicle head-on. Hours later, on October 11, the department announced Ellis died from his injuries.
That same day, the president of the Association, Officer Kim Minor, responded to the home of Officer Ellis.
“That was really difficult. Because you have no idea what they’re going through. What they’re feeling. They’re numb. It’s just the most difficult day of their life,” Minor said.
That emotional support – especially in the immediate term – is critical, Minor said.
“I just wanted to be there for them and be a representative of our department and our family members,” she said.
Minor said the St. Louis County Police Family Association provided the family cash for any short-term necessities. Members also delivered meals.
Ellis, 49, left behind a wife and five children in the small town of Hecker, near Waterloo, Illinois.
The Association will also be involved in organizing fundraisers and connecting the family with counseling and grief support if requested.
“It’s tremendous,” Minor said. “They have five children. It’s a very close-knit family. Very close-knit family. Very close-knit community.”
After Ellis is laid to rest, the Association will continue to be there for the family, whether it be providing meals, to simple household matters like plumbing issues.
The St. Louis County Police Family Association provides other services for department employees and their families. A recent movie night was designed to provide an enjoyable experience, especially for children.
Many members also belong to the Association’s Moms Back the Blue – a group largely comprised of mothers of police officers.
Earlier this week, a huge announcement was made that brought relief to the Ellis family, friends, and former colleagues. The BackStoppers organization announced that it would provide financial aid to the officer’s family.
BackStoppers provides emergency expenses and other assistance to pay off debt for families of first responders either killed in the line of duty or who have lost their lives to catastrophic injury.
While the St. Louis County Police Family Association operates on a smaller scale, it stands with a mission to help families of colleagues who have passed.
“We were family before. And we’ll be family forever,” Minor said.
To donate to BackStoppers, visit www.BackStoppers.org or call (314) 692-0200.