Families of officers killed in duty gather together in Seaside Heights

SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J. (WPVI) -- Families who lost loved ones who were law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty came together in Seaside Heights, New Jersey to give each other support and have a fun day at the same time.

"It's a family you don't want to be a part of, but you're really blessed that they're in your lives," Phyllis Morgan, Concerns of Police Survivors Vice President, said.

Morgan, who lost her son Michael a Newark police detective, was among dozens enjoying the 8th annual Law-Enforcement Survivors Day at Jenkinson's Breakwater Beach in Seaside Heights.

It's a chance for families of officers killed in the line of duty to relax, swim and make connections.

"So much is memorial services and sad events and bagpipes. Here they get to talk to one another, one mom can talk to another mom, the kids can meet each other," Retired Lt. Mike Parmenter said.

Breakwater Beach hosts the event which is sponsored by Concerns of Police Survivors, a group that assists the families of officers who've died.

"It's the least we can do. These families are here because their loved ones made the ultimate sacrifice; they gave their lives protecting all of us," Vincent Storino of Breakwater Beach said.

Retired Atlantic City Police Captain Michelle Polk lost her nephew Patrolman Tom McMeekin in 2005 when he was hit by a casino bus while directing traffic.

"It's nice to see the same people. It's sad to see new people, but at least there's people who understand where you're at," Polk said.

Granted, the weather wasn't perfect, but that didn't seem to matter much. You don't need sun for what these families were getting here today.

"It's a day to talk and talk over loved ones and a day to spend a nice day, not just mourning all the time," mother of fallen officer, Ruth Lemagne, said.

The family of Port Authority Police Officer David LaMagne, who was killed on 9/11, comes every year.

"It's just being with family, good time, and meeting other people and a lot of support," aunt Alice Vasquez said.

"Let's bring people together at a happy time so they can reconnect, they can understand that people in uniform still support them and still love them and still thank them for their sacrifice," New Jersey Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno said.
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