Six-year-old starts effort to repair Tampa’s Fallen Trooper Memorial

Clayton and his dad, Ricardo Valdes, look at the Fallen Trooper Memorial.

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Three weeks ago Ricardo Valdes brought his 6-year-old son Clayton to see the Fallen Trooper Memorial in Tampa.

Clayton had been very eager to visit, but when he arrived, something was missing: the name of his mother, Chelsea Richard.

“I was kinda sad because when you put her name on something it makes it better,” Clayton said.

Chelsea Richard
Trooper Chelsea Richard was killed responding to an accident.

In May 2014, Trooper Richard was hit and killed by a driver as she responded to an accident. She was just 30 years old. The pain is still fresh, for her husband and son. Valdes chocked up thinking of his wife.

“She always had a love for the job,” he said.

Clayton and his father were disappointed Richard’s name has not been added. “She was cremated; there’s really no place for (my son) to go as far as sit and reflect,” Valdes said.

That wasn’t the only thing they found troubling. The memorial has been neglected. Benches are falling apart, the site is filthy, weeds are everywhere and there’s a massive crack through the granite.

“To let it go like that is kinda disrespectful,” Valdes said.

So Clayton and his dad reached out to Tom Berry with the Blue Alert Foundation, which supports fallen law enforcement officers.

“I actually felt really bad,” Berry said. “To find out a memorial doesn’t have her name kind of puts a void into what she did and not being recognized for her sacrifice.”

A private foundation established this memorial, but the site has fallen into disrepair, he said. “What I understood, the people who did it are either passed on or have left the state and nobody has been taking care of it,” Berry added.

The Blue Alert Foundation is now committed to raising funds to repair the memorial. Berry said Trooper William Dyer’s name is also missing.

“My goal right now is getting the two missing troopers names on it,” Berry said.

Berry also wants to find someone to maintain the memorial for these troopers who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Organizers hope the community can step up. You can donate to the Blue Alert Foundation here.

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