Ryan Barber, and Top Pot Doughnuts co-founder Mark Klebeck hold up doughnuts in honor of fallen police officer Joselito Barber.
Maple bars remind community of an officer's sacrifice
By Christy Wolyniak, contributor
UPDATE 7:05 p.m., Aug. 20: So far the fundraiser has raised $1160.35 in cash donations, which doesn't include credit card, check and direct deposit donations, according to Ryan Barber. The autographed Seahawks jersey is expected to match the cash donations in auction. Ryan Barber said that Girls & Boys Club and COPS will be "extremely grateful."
So far we raised $1160.35 in cash donations. We still have credit card, check and direct deposits to account for. Plus the Seahawks donation of autographed jersey and football will most likely equal the cash donations in auction.
Friends and family members handed out soft, fluffy chocolate and maple bars on Saturday at Ballard Top Pot Doughnuts in memory of SPD officer Joselito Barber, who lost his life at age 26 six years ago.
Aug. 13, 2006, Joselito Barber was killed at the intersection of 23rd Ave and Yesler Way when a speeding vehicle, estimated to be going 80 mph, ran a red light and broadsided his patrol car. Joselito Barber had just started his career as a cop and was excited to be working in what had been his dream job. Before SPD, he had gone to St. Paul Elementary, O'Dea High School and University of Washington.
His cousin Ryan Barber started the "Cops & Doughnuts" fundraiser last year to spread awareness about the sacrifice of those serving in the police force. Donations went to COPS (Concerns of Police Survivors) and to the Boys and Girls Club in Skyway, where Barber grew up.
In addition to a jar filling up with support for COPS and the Boys and Girls Club, the Seattle Seahawks donated a signed jersey and football that will be auctioned in a COPS event next spring.
As for why they used doughnuts, that was a more personal touch. Joselito Barber loved his doughnuts.
“[Chocolate and maple were his Gatorade,” Ryan Barber said. “Lito had to have one every Sunday before a softball game.”
Joselito Barber’s family was positive and seemed to be enjoying themselves as they passed mouth-watering maple bars right off the rack to people who were supporting Barber and other fallen officers. A poster board with pictures of Barber portrayed the joy that he had for life.
Co-founder of Top Pot Doughnuts, Mark Klebeck attended the event and talked with Barber’s family. Top Pot hosts various events throughout the year to benefit organizations, but this one in particular seemed to hit home with Klebeck.
“When I see Lito’s mom and his family members and see what they’ve gone through and what they’re doing, it’s heart-wrenching. I know that if I had lost a loved one in the police force, I would have loved for someone to show that kind of support for me,” said Klebeck.
COPS Treasurer, Brenda Donner, also came in support of the Barber family. Donner understands firsthand the sacrifice officers give in this line of work as she lost her father who was in the police force. She stood by a large board with the 290-plus officers who have lost their lives since the COPS organization began in 1996. Barber’s photo was amongst them.
“We want the public to understand that cops have families. They don’t go home and not be a cop,” Donner said.
Not everyone who walked through the doors of Top Pot Doughnuts that morning expected to see the family of a fallen officer cheerfully handing out free doughnuts with a smile. But Barber’s mom spoke softly and generated a sweetness even Top Pot could not top.
“[It would have so easy for the Barber family to fade off and never have anything to do with us, but they continued to support officers and [the police. They really walk the walk and talk the talk,” said SPD Deputy Chief, Nick Metz.
Metz was the lead planner for Barber’s memorial and gave Barber’s family the news of his death when it happened. Metz has gotten to know the Barber family closely.
“They have an incredible strength, commitment and honor to law enforcement,” said Metz. “They truly care. It’s never been about them.”
A few people mentioned the negative connotations police officers get because of stories in the news. Through this event, it was the hope that the community might understand the sacrifice that police officers make for the good of others through their lives and their work.
“I know that he’s up there smiling ear-to-ear right now. He was always a happy guy,” Ryan Barber said.