Fundraiser for two VSP troopers killed in helicopter crash

Fundraiser for two VSP troopers killed in helicopter crash
H. Jay Cullen and Berke M.M. Bates (Source: VA State Police)

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A fundraiser is being held this weekend to help the families of two Virginia State Police troopers who were killed in the line of duty.

Supporters are hoping for a large turnout at a fundraiser in Shockoe Bottom for Lieutenant Jay Cullen and Trooper Pilot Berke Bates, who were both killed when their helicopter crashed back in August.

The fundraiser will be at Rosie Connolly's Pub on East Main Street. The photos of Lt. Cullen and Trooper Pilot Bates hang permanently on the wall there. The fundraiser will be held for their wives and children.

Lt. Cullen leaves behind a wife and two sons. Trooper  Pilot Bates died just before his 41st birthday, leaving behind a wife, a son and daughter. Back in August, they were watching over Charlottesville during a time of turmoil and violence when their helicopter went down in Albemarle County.

The law enforcement community continues to rally around their families.

"She seems to be doing okay," says Mac Adams, president of the Metro Police Emerald Society, who knows Bates' wife. "But 'seems' is a bad word and 'okay' is subjective. One day she's good, one days she's not good."

On Saturday, the Metro Richmond Police Emerald Society will host a fundraiser for them at the pub. There  will be a silent auction, Irish dancers, live music and part of the profits from the night will go the fallen troopers' families.

The silent auction will include a signed Washington Capitals jersey, a hockey stick signed by Capitals hockey player T.J. Oshie, NASCAR tickets, gift cards for Richmond restaurants and signed Richmond Flying Squirrels gear.

The pub holds a special place for Trooper Pilot Bates, who Adams said came every St. Patrick's Day. This was also where MRPES was founded, and Bates was a charter member.

The main goal for the night is simple.

"I hope that [the families] see that the Richmond community loves them," says Adams. "Not just law enforcement, but the Richmond community loves them and loves law enforcement."

Here are the details for the fundraiser:
Place: Rosie Connolly's Pub 
   1548 East Main Street
    Richmond
When: Saturday, January 6
Time: 5 p.m. - 10 p.m.

No cover charge. There will be a heated tent.

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