Sheriff’s office awards 4 scholarships in memory of Deputy Neil Thompson

From left: LaPorte County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Ron Heeg, scholarship recipients Emma Morse, Ethan Piergalski, Chandler Banic and John Corbin Alexander VII, and Sheriff John T. Boyd. (Photo provided)

Each year the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Office awards scholarships in memory of Sheriff’s Patrolman Neil Thompson, who was killed in the line of duty on Sept. 21, 1980, the only member of the sheriff’s office to have died in the line of duty. Thompson was killed when a suspect fleeing other officers in a stolen ambulance intentionally rammed his patrol car.  

LaPorte County Deputy Neil Thompson

Four local students were awarded 2018 scholarships in June: Emma Morse, daughter of Tara and Andy, along with Ethan Piergalski, son of Urszula and Brian, both recently graduated from New Prairie High School. Chandler Banic, son of Sherry and Aaron, recently graduated from LaPorte High School. 2018 scholarship essay winner John Corbin Alexander VII, son of Jennifer and John, also recently graduated from LaPorte High School.

Emma will be attending Indiana University South Bend and majoring in elementary education. Ethan will be attending Purdue University, majoring in aerospace engineering, and will be involved in the Air Force ROTC. Chandler will be attending Ball State University, majoring in construction management, and will play on the university baseball team. John will be attending Bethel College, majoring in criminal justice, and will compete on the college track and cross country teams.

The Thompson scholarship program, originally open only to sheriff’s office employees’ daughters and sons, was expanded in 2015 to allow one student of a LaPorte County school to receive a scholarship by writing an essay on the meaning of being a police officer. The essay-winning student must be continuing his/her education by studying criminal justice or criminology at a college or university.

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