CENTERVILLE (ABC4 News) – A former Centerville Police officer continues to serve and protect even two and a half years after his death.
Officer Jason Read was the type of guy everybody looked up to, and not just because he was 6’4″. Even after his tragic death in 2018, his law enforcement legacy continues.
Jason’s little sister Laurie Read says he was always her protector.
“We all kind of liked to fight and wrestle around,” she told Behind The Badge. “But he was definitely the one when I needed saving, he would come to the rescue from the other two brothers.”
As Jason grew up, he protected more people, including his wife Danni and their three children, the people of Centerville, and his colleagues in uniform.
“He was a giant on this department,” Centerville Police Chief Paul Child said. “He was a protector. There’s no question about that. He was always wanting to be the first one in and take charge.”
“He was always ‘I’m going to go in first. I’m going to be the protector’,” Laurie added. “You know, he’d tell his guys to stand back, let him go check it out first.”
Officer Read’s escape was riding his Harley-Davidson but one day in September of 2018 a driver making a U turn crashed into him. After three weeks in the hospital, he appeared to be recovering until he suddenly passed away on October 9th.
“I didn’t want his legacy to go away and I didn’t want it to be something sad,” Laurie said. “I thought ‘What could we do to honor who he was as a person and give his kids something to look forward to, to celebrate their dad’.”
“We have created a foundation, called the Jason W. Read Protect and Serve Foundation,” she says on a video posted to Facebook.
Laurie and Danni started the foundation to give money local law enforcement agencies can use for much-needed equipment.
“They were asking for shields and helmets,” Laurie said. “I mean, our officers are going out there with expired equipment and they’re putting their lives on the line every day for us.”
It’s a fitting tribute to this towering but humble policeman who rarely talked about his Officer of the Year Awards, his Lifesaving Award for resuscitating a drowning toddler or the one he got for saving the life of a suicidal bank robbery suspect.
“Jason did not like the limelight. He didn’t like the spotlight,” Danni Read explained. “He never thought that what he did was extraordinary. He just thought he was doing the job that he signed up to do.”
Last year the Read Foundation raised over $20,000 and last week began distributing checks: $3500 to the Clinton Police Department, $3000 to the Davis County Sheriff’s Office, $2000 each to the Kaysville and Centerville PDs and the list goes on and on. Through these gifts, Officer Read continues to save lives.
“It was just so humbling and joyful to be able to carry on his legacy and help keep these officers safe,” Danni said. “We want to carry on that protective nature that he just naturally had. We want to make sure that our men and women in blue get to go home to their families safely each night and come back for more the next day.”
Laurie and Danni are always looking for law enforcement agencies with needs and supporters for the foundation.
If you’d like to help, you can make a donation to the Jason W. Read Protect and Serve Foundation at any America First Credit Union.
You can learn more by visiting the Foundation’s Facebook page or their blog at https://jwrpas-foundation.blogspot.com/p/about-us.html?fbclid=IwAR1rmB93P1hacYfcHB1lCFT4qQTpE-iyf5F6Q8NKdCFOlgY0XGRD-xrw2tg
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