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State Honoree

Katelyn Philpot

Michigan

Katelyn Philpot, 13, of Brownstown, Mich., an eighth-grader at Renton Junior High School in New Boston, raises funds to send children of fallen police officers to a special camp every year, and serves as a mentor to help them deal with their grief. Katelyn's own father was a police officer, and when she was just 6 months old, he was murdered by a gang member. The Michigan Concerns of Police Survivors (MICOPS) came to her family's aid, and the more Katelyn learned about the organizations activities, the more she wanted to contribute to its mission. "As I began to see so many kids throughout my life that have gone through the same thing, I knew that MICOPS was their guiding light," she said. "I recognized that these children needed a friend, pined for a normal life and desperately wanted someone who understood the agony they were experiencing."

With her mother's support, Katelyn takes advantage of every opportunity to tell others about MICOPS, and volunteers at a wide variety of MICOPS events to raise money for children of fallen officers to attend a camp that helps them deal with death and grief. She also reaches out to individual kids in need of someone who can understand their sorrow. "It is very difficult to watch children shed tears and be in so much pain," said Katelyn, "but I know that sharing my story with them helps them to understand that they are not alone and that they, too, can make it through this."