The Pasco County Fraternal Order of Police has been working to build a memorial to honor fallen officers for almost a decade.
Now, a surprise from a Pasco County business owner during a retirement party has turned into a gift for the entire community.
That surprise, a check for $100,000, was announced by Laurice Hachem at the retirement party for Pasco County Detective William Lawless.
Hachem and Lawless have a history going back 25 years.
“In 1993 I investigated the USA Flea Market fire,” recalled Lawless. “It was the largest arson in Pasco history.”
Laurice Hachem and her late husband owned the flea market. Lawless, who lead the investigation, caught the people responsible for setting the blaze.
“I couldn't understand how someone could take the loss that was taken there and still survive,” Lawless said.
The couple’s perseverance left an impression on the deputy, enough so that the two families became friends. Close enough, that Laurice attended the retirement party Saturday night.
That’s where she saw an artist’s rendering for the long dreamed of memorial.
“She was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I have to do this. We have to get this done,’” Lawless said.
The check, in addition to $80,000 raised over four years, will allow Pasco County to move forward with breaking ground on the memorial.
If all goes to plan, the memorial will be located at the historic court house in Dade City by next May.