ST. PETERSBURG — As Lorraine Yaslowitz walked onto the turf at Tropicana Field on Memorial Day, she knew she was going to receive a check for her new foundation.
But when she glanced down to see the amount was $20,000, she threw her head back in delight.
"I was surprised," said Yaslowitz, whose husband, St. Petersburg Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz, was shot and killed by a fugitive in January. "I knew it was going to be a good amount, but I didn't know it was that good."
Yaslowitz is setting up a Partners for Life Foundation to support families, like hers, who have lost loved ones because of "senseless acts of violence." She said she hopes through the foundation "that Jeff's legacy lives on to the end of the earth."
The Partners for Life Police Appreciation Run, a 10K race held May 15 in St. Petersburg, raised money for the cause.
Though organizers were "exhilarated" by community support for the race, that feeling "was quickly replaced by the horror of losing someone else," said race director Chris Lauber.
He was referring to the slaying of Mathew F. Little, a security officer who wished to become a police officer. He was killed in a St. Petersburg shooting less than 24 hours after the race.
Yaslowitz and Lauber said they hope to give $2,000 to support the Little family, but had not been able to contact them yet.
Lauber said organizers have not yet put the finishing details on the foundation that Yaslowitz wants to create. Organizers are working on the paperwork now.
Lauber said people can make donations by going to www.FloridaRoadRaces.com and clicking on the link related to the run. A separate foundation, the Sun Coast Law Enforcement Charities, which is affiliated with the Sun Coast Police Benevolent Association, is handling donations for now.
The dangers of law enforcement have never been so clear in the Tampa Bay area.
After going 30 years without losing an officer in the line of duty, Yaslowitz and Sgt. Thomas Baitinger were shot and killed in January. They were assisting in an attempt to arrest a fugitive, Hydra Lacy Jr., who later was shot and killed in the incident.
Before the department had fully recovered, another St. Petersburg officer, David S. Crawford, was killed in February. The slaying of Little came this month. Arrests have been made in both of those cases.
These killings followed the fatal shootings in June 2010 of Tampa police Officers Jeffrey Kocab and David Curtis, and of Tampa police Cpl. Mike Roberts in 2009.
Curtis Krueger can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 893-8232.