As a police procession followed the body of Bristol police officer Alex Hamzy on Friday, many stood in somber attention. Among those watching in celebration were ESPN anchor Gary Striewski and his father, a 20-year veteran of the Colorado State Patrol.
“Unfortunately, it’s not the first time, you know, that he’s had to take up arms for a fallen officer,” he said.
In honoring DeMonte and Hamzy, Striewski’s employer, ESPN, is paying tribute by lighting the campus blue and showing prominent support.
This, after the tragedy that occurred just a few blocks away on Redstone Hill Road.
Extending its reach, ESPN also broadcast its support using some of its biggest platforms. Condolences were delivered on SportsCenter and College Gameday – broadcasts that reach tens of millions of people across the country.
ESPN vice president of security Mike Heimbach said the honors were the least they could do.
“We consider the Bristol Police Department part of our family,” Heimbach said. “90% of our campus is within the city of Bristol.”
ESPN is not alone on the sports scene in paying tribute. At Yankee Stadium during a playoff game, a moment of silence for DeMonte and Hamzy.
On Sunday in Miami, DeMonte, a devoted Miami Dolphins fan, was honored during the game. Barstool Sports also sells t-shirts with proceeds to help victims.
Closer to home, UConn football coach Jim Mora wore a Bristol Police Department hat during Saturday’s game.
Providing comfort and not losing sight of the primary message is what Striewski said these tributes are all about.
“First and foremost, love to all the families affected,” Striewski said. “It’s the least you can do, to at least show the people in that community that you recognize the pain and that you respect what our law enforcement officers do every day.”
Support has been widespread and is likely to continue to grow. ESPN and the Miami Dolphins said they are considering further contributions to those affected.