INDIANAPOLIS, Ind - September 20 marks the three-year anniversary of IMPD Officer Rod Bradway's death. He was killed in the line of duty while responding to a domestic disturbance call on the city's northwest side.
IMPD officers remember Bradway in their own ways. His parents, Tom and Sheri, have found a unique way to grieve while helping other mothers of fallen officers.
“Rod was a part of me. I gave him life," said Sheri Bradway when describing a mother's pain in losing her child. “When you lose one, you’ve lost part of yourself.”
She remembers how much support her family received from IMPD and the community. But a few months later at National Police Week in Washington D.C., Sheri realized a huge void.
"In there, there’s nothing for a mother to say that they’re remembered. Everything is given to the wife and children, and I understand that," she said, "But it leaves an empty space for a mom.”
So Sheri decided to change that.
A quilter for years, she got to work and made herself a quilt to help comfort her loss. Then she created a non-profit called A Quilt for Mother's Tears to offer memory quilts for all mothers of officers killed in the line of duty. At the end of this year, the Bradways and dozens of volunteers will have made and handed out more than 300 quilts. They even made quilts for the mothers of the Dallas police officer killed this year.
“Seeing the reactions I think makes it all worthwhile,” said Tom Bradway.
Sheri remembers what one mother told her that deeply touched her.
“She now wraps up in it with her morning coffee and she’s got her hug from her son,” she said.
On October 1, 45 special quilts will be auctioned off to raise money to keep this cause going. It will be held at the Pike Performing Arts Center at 6701 Zionsville Road in Indianapolis. Doors open at noon for registration with the auction beginning at 1 p.m. You can view some of the quilts here.
People who want to pitch in, but cannot attend are able to make donations via the Indianapolis FOP #86. The Bradways hope people will donate.
"I'll never forget him. There will always be an empty spot. But by me being able to help other mothers has helped me heal," said Sheri.