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Police Families Stick Together When Tragedy Strikes

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CARY — Being a police officer is a dangerous professions. When tragedy does strike and a police officer is injured or killed, where can their families turn?

When Cary police officer Capt. Brad Hudson was critically injured in a car accident in May, support poured in from the department and the community.

Hudson is still recovering atWakeMed, but his ordeal has brought Cary police families a lot closer together.

After officer Terry Leonard was hit by an alleged drunk driver in another accident in May, it confirmed the fears that his wife, Kristi, has about police work.

"Everything was running through my mind," she said, "Is he telling me the truth? Is he OK? I knew he was OK, but to what extent are his injuries? Does he just have a broken ankle or is there more to it than that?"

"You do kind of keep it in the back of your head, you always think about the danger aspect," Terry Leonard said. "It's always present."

To help families deal with situations like this one, the wives of Cary police officers recently created a family support group.

"God forbid if something did happen, maybe we can get some education and really support each other," said Dawn Jernigan, wife of a police officer. "That's what it's really about, supporting each other and supporting our husbands."

"It's just important to have a circle of friends that know where you are coming from," said Marshae Williams, who thought about creating a support group for years. It did not become a reality until tragedy struck the department.

"After Captain Hudson was severely injured in an accident, I guess that got the fire burning," Williams said.

Cary police veteran Captain Brad Hudson, who is an 13-year veteran, is still recovering. He says the support he has received from the police families has been tremendous.

"I don't how we could have got through it without that type of support," Hudson said. "But it's been somewhat surprising and a renewal of faith in our community."

When Hudson comes home from the hospital, the support group plans to help the family out with anything they need, from meals to yardwork. The group plans to meet once a month and is open to all spouses of Cary police officers.

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Amanda Lamb, Reporter
Keith Baker, Photographer
Jason Darwin, Web Editor

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