Officers of the Cleveland Police Marine Corps League Help an Officer in Need.
-Written by Sergeant Stephen Merrifield
(Any Cleveland Police Officer wishing to donate should contact Sergeant Merrifield in the Cleveland Police Academy.)
The Cleveland Police Marine Corps League responded to the call of a fellow Marine in distress this week. These Marines answered the call by donating money, sick-time and baby supplies to a fellow Marine and a Police Officer who had fallen on difficult times.
P.O. Russell Barnhart, who served with the Weapons Company of the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines, entered the Cleveland Police Academy as a Recruit less than a year ago, on October 1, 2012. He successfully graduated the Police Academy and took the Oath of a Cleveland Police Officer on March 28, 2013. In attendance at the graduation was Barnhart’s girlfriend of 5 years, Stacey. On the day Barnhart was taking his oath to protect and defend the citizens of the City of Cleveland, Stacey was 6 months pregnant with their first child.
As the baby was being born on June 13th, Stacey suffered stroke-like symptoms, which was devastating for the entire family. Several days later, Officer Barnhart returned home with his daughter Isabelle, while his girlfriend remained in the hospital. As Barnhart was a new city employee, he had accumulated a very limited amount of sick-time to use before he would no longer receive a paycheck. Barnhart was in the impossible position of needing to stay home to take care of his infant daughter, be at the hospital with his girlfriend and be at work to earn a paycheck.
A call was placed to the Commandant of the Cleveland Police Marine Corps League, Stephen Merrifield, who sent a message to all 130 Marines assigned to the Division of Police, advising them that their brother needed assistance. The response was immediate and overwhelming. Within 2 hours, Barnhart’s’ fellow Marines had donated several weeks of sick-time with pledges of money and baby supplies rolling in. Merrifield said that there were donations from all over including many from non-police and non-military. These collected items will be delivered to the Barnhart family on Wednesday, August 7th.
The Cleveland Police Marine Corps League was chartered with the express intent of helping those brothers and sisters who have volunteered twice to protect those who were unable to protect themselves. The only requirement to be a member of the Marine Corps League is that the candidate must have served honorably as a United States Marine. To become a member of the Cleveland Police Marine Corps League the candidate must also be of good moral character and live by a set of values that is consistent with that of a Cleveland Police Officer.
The words of the 32nd Commandant of the Marine Corps, James Jones, rang true with each of these Maries. General Jones said, “Ensure that no Marine who honorably wore the Eagle Globe and Anchor is lost to the Marine Corps Family”
Stephen Merrifield, Detachment Commandant
Cleveland Police Marine Corps League #1410