December 21, 2011
“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus…”
On October 7, 2011, I issued a call for assistance regarding a fundraising effort for Trooper Glen Franklin who was shot during an undercover bootleg buy in 1972. As you recall, Glen was just ten months into his career when he became confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
Although we received donations from across the United States, the outpouring from our agency was overwhelming. Amidst bake sales, chili cook-offs, yard sales and gun raffles WE raised $46,206.34 for this hero. After negotiations with Superior Van of Lexington, which included a hefty dealer discount and a rebate from Honda, we were able to purchase a fully equipped 2011 Honda Odyssey for $39,303 with the trade-in of the Franklin’s current van. The remainder of the monies is for the Franklins to utilize as they see fit.
The fundraising efforts snowballed and took on a life of its’ own. Amidst the generous donations of cash, the Franklins also received four box seats to a Cincinnati Reds game, VIP treatment to a Cincinnati Bengals game, a Garmin GPS unit from the Braun Corporation, and lifetime oil changes and tire balancing service from Capitol Auto Park.
The event, attended by Governor Steve Beshear and Senator Julian Carroll, was perhaps one of the proudest moments during my career with the Kentucky State Police. After Trooper Franklin was presented the Guthrie Crowe Award, I explained the outpouring of support during our fundraising endeavors to the Franklins. Ultimately, the van was unveiled, including a personalized KSP plate on the front with his unit number. To say that they were surprised and overwhelmed is an understatement!
Perhaps the most gratifying moment for me was watching Trooper Franklin being interviewed by multiple news agencies. After forty years of being confined to a wheelchair, I felt that he was finally getting a modicum of the recognition that he deserved.
After the fanfare had subsided and most of the 160 plus spectators had left, Lieutenant Jude and I had a private moment with Glen and his wife Jan. In a tear filled moment, Glen told me how appreciative he was and asked me how he could ever repay all of the kindness that he and his family had been shown. I responded by telling him that the debt had already been paid in full on November 26, 1972. Amen.