UPPER DARBY, Penn. (April 30,
2002) When lifelong area resident Steve Brown read of Upper Darby police officer
Dennis McNamara’s tragic shooting death this past January, it hit home hard.
Like Brown, 42, McNamara, who
was 43, grew up in Greater Philadelphia, had two children and was an avid fitness enthusiast and runner who spoke often about
marathons. Brown needed to do something for the officer and his family.
“We live in such a
tight community, and this hit so many people so hard,” said Brown, a manager at PNC Bank’s mutual fund division,
PFPC Inc. “I went to his memorial service and was moved beyond words. There were blue uniforms from all over the country, from as far away as California.
But most importantly, there stood his wife and kids. I just couldn’t imagine my family alone, changed overnight.”
Shot during an investigation,
McNamara was the first Upper Darby officer ever killed in the line of duty. Retired from Air Force
intelligence operations and an Army Reserve drill instructor, he joined the Upper Darby Police Department in 1994. McNamara
was commended eight times for heroism, and was known to be artistic, athletic, compassionate, and deeply committed to his
family and community.
So when Brown, with 15 years of
multi-sport racing experience, including 11 marathons and 2 iron-distance triathlons (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile
run), learned of McNamara’s passion for fitness and running, he knew he had his answer. He approached the officer’s
wife and the police superintendent, and told them he could raise money for the children’s trust fund by racing Ironman
USA, an iron-distance triathlon in Lake
Placid, NY, in McNamara’s honor, and by reaching out to the Greater Philadelphia
and endurance sport communities for their contributions.
“I want to compete in something
that he never had the chance to do but would have loved, and I want to help insure a healthy, safe, supported home for his
son and daughter,” said Brown.
The McNamara family says
they’re honored that Brown has taken on this project. The police department is just as grateful and excited, and in
response to Brown’s commitment, is providing him with UDPD workout clothes and an open door to its
fitness center. Brown says he just hopes the police officers are there to catch him at the finish line in July.
Brown’s fund raising method
and contribution requirements are simple – he’s determined to spread the word about McNamara’s life, and
tragic death, and is asking for whatever contributors can afford. Donations can be sent directly to: The Dennis McNamara Children’s
Trust Fund, Attention Dennis Wolf, c/o Commerce Bank Lawrence Park Branch, 2014 Sproul Rd.,
Broomall, PA 19008.
will be held July 28, 2002, Lake Placid,
Brown races and trains with Tri State Multisport