EXETER TWP., Pa - Even before 48 hours had passed since Berks County Sheriff's Deputy Kyle Pagerly was killed in the line of duty, Pagerly's life and story captivated countless people.
Pagerly's family lived up to his legacy on Friday, showing grace and gratitude, despite their grief. They made a surprise stop at a fundraiser in their honor to say thank you for the outpouring of support.
"The whole community and the state, everywhere, I'm getting messages on Facebook, emails from strangers or people who knew Kyle," said Alecia Pagerly, Pagerly's widow. "And I just appreciate all the prayers and support and sympathy."
Alecia made her first public appearance a little more than a day after losing her husband and just a few months before she's expecting their first child.
Hundreds of people came out to the Dairy Queen in Exeter Township for a Crime Alert Berks County fund raiser for Alecia. People who donated said they were moved by Alecia's story.
Alecia and Kyle Pagerly's family came to the same fund raiser, moved by support.
"Thank you to everyone for everything," said Dave Pagerly, Kyle Pagerly's father. "We can't thank this community, the state, the country, actually the world for what they have done for our family and Kyle."
It seemed only fitting that a community give back to Kyle Pagerly who lived his live giving so much.
In the Army, as a sheriff's deputy, as a firefighter and even at home, the Pagerly family admitted that Kyle put others first.
"He's done everything he could for everybody. He was always someone else first before himself," said Pagerly's father.
Out of a dark tragedy comes the glimmer of the golden rule. Friday's fund raiser brought in more than $5,000 for the Pagerly family, proof that for what Kyle Pagerly did unto others, others are now trying to do for him.
"Kyle was and always will be my hero and he's going to be greatly missed," said Kyle's mother, Michelle Moyer.
"He's my hero, too," Alecia said.
Crime Alert had already scheduled to hold the fundraiser to benefit the nonprofit group, but with the Pagerly's death on Wednesday, Crime Alert decided instead to raise money for Pagerly's family.
Pagerly was killed while trying to serve an arrest warrant in Albany Township. The suspect, Matthew Connor, was also killed in the exchange of gunfire.
"I just can't say thank you enough for all the support and all the prayers," Alecia told 69 News. "I can't even begin to say how overwhelming it is."
The $5,000 in donations included a $1,000 contribution from the owner of Dairy Queen, Hamid Chaudhry.
For the remainder of July, Chaudhry said he will continue to collect donations for the Pagerly family from customers at both his stores in Exeter and Kenhorst.
"I've known Kyle as a customer, and I've known Jynx as a customer," said Chaudhry. "They were regular at my store in Kenhorst. He was a very nice guy, friendly."
Chaudhry told 69 News he is also working to organize another fundraiser at his Kenhorst store.
Redner's Warehouse Markets also announced during Friday morning's fundraiser that it will continue its arrangement to feed Jynx, Pagerly's K9 partner for the remainder of his life.
Jynx has been retired from the sheriff's department and will remain with Pagerly's widow as part of the family.
"He's very sad," said Alecia. "So, he follows me everywhere and climbs on the sofa with me, but I think he'll be better soon."
Sheriff Eric Weaknecht also announced Friday morning the creation of the Kyle Pagerly Memorial Fund. Donations can be sent to the Berks County Sheriff's Department, 633 Court Street, Reading, PA 19601.
A memorial service for Pagerly has been scheduled for Wednesday at the Sovereign Center on Penn Street in downtown Reading. Doors for a visitation will open at 9:00. The service is scheduled to begin at 1:00.
At the family's invitation, 69-WFMZ will present live coverage of the memorial service live on 69-WFMZ-TV and on WFMZ.com.
Parking for those attending the service will be available at the Doubletree garage in the 700 block of Court Street, said Weaknecht.
The borough of Sinking Spring is also joining the effort to help the Pagerly family.
The playground children will donate the proceeds of their annual car wash to the Pagerlys, rather than using the money to offset the borough's costs for the playground program.
The car wash at the Sinking Spring playground on Evans Avenue is scheduled for Friday, July 8 from 9:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., but organizers said they'll go beyond the four hours if there's a demand.
Pagerly was a part-time officer for the borough until 2010.
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