(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) In August, St. Joseph Police Officer Roy Wedlow suffered a stroke that forced him to retire from the job he loved.
On Sunday, the community came together for a benefit dinner at Keys Christian Fellowship Church to show their support for Wedlow as he continues down the road of recovery.
"He treated people how he wanted to be treated, and it's obvious that that creates a special kind of bond with the community," Richard Bradley, Keys Christian Fellowship Church pastor, said.
In fact, that bond between Wedlow and the community was so strong, people often referred to him as "The Gentle Giant".
The church asked for a $10 donation for a spaghetti dinner and silent auction. Wedlow's wife, Beatrice Wedlow, said she couldn't believe the amount of support her husband has received from the community.
"I just could not believe how much we had," Beatrice said. "So many people that was at the hospital with me day in and day out."
Bradley said he was hired as a St. Joe police officer the same day as Wedlow 22 years ago. Bradley said he remembers one conversation he and Wedlow had just before Wedlow met his wife.
"Before they were married, he mentioned that he needed to make a police report. I was like 'well I don't know what you're talking about.' He's like 'well somebody stole my heart.' I was like 'well that's pretty special, but I don't think a reports required for that," Bradley said. "I don't know if he'll even remember that, it was 20 years ago."
Beatrice said being a police officer was more than just a job to Wedlow, it was his life.
"That is his passion, is being a police officer. So, one thing I can say is he will never forget it," Beatrice said. "We're truly blessed."
The food for the benefit was made and purchased by Bradley, his wife and several volunteers. Donations for the benefit came from several St. Joseph Police Officers and Mosaic Life Care.
All of the proceeds will go directly to the Wedlow family.
"Our family would like to say thank you for everything that everyone has done for us," Beatrice said. "May God Bless, and keep you in our prayers. Thank you so much."