A painful loss for a Moline family is becoming a mission to share his memory.
Alan Perley got his start in law enforcement while in high school with the Moline Explorers.
After graduating from Black Hawk College in 1980, his first full-time job was with East Moline Police.
More recently, Alan worked for departments in the Chicago suburbs.
But this past summer, his family learned Alan took his own life.
In the wake of his passing, family and friends want people to remember and know of his legacy fo service.
Alan’s birthday is March 12.
As that date was approaching on the calendar, friends in the Moline Class of 1978 looked for ways to Alan can continue to serve others.
They’re working for form a scholarship in his memory for future law enforcement officers at Black Hawk College.
Alan’s mother Lucille Perley said, “Maybe we could have some more good officers like that.”
There was little else Alan looked to pursue.
Lucille said, “He knew really early that he wanted to be in law enforcement.”
Just his passion for the job could be seen the night he graduated high school.
“Most parents were worried, what are their kids doing now after graduation. Where are they getting into trouble? And we didn’t worry about him. He was on a ride along with one of his police officer friends, so he came home at six o’clock in the morning,” said Lucille.
Alan’s brother David Perley told Local 4 News, “Taught me how to go the extra mile for someone else when somebody needed it.”
Alan’s career took him across the country.
His mom said, “Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and he said those were the best five years of his career.”
And protected some big names.
Lucille Perley said, “Bodyguard work for Tiger Woods.”
He was also one to help crack a smile and served as an inspiration to others in law enforcement.
But his mother Lucille and younger brother and fellow officer David Perley said at the end of the day – with or without a badge – it came back to helping people.
Lucille Perley said, “At his funeral visitation there was a young woman that said I need to tell you that if it had not been for your son, I would have been a widow at age 28.”
And that’s the guiding force his family said has been the hardest to go without.
David said, “Each day is difficult. Sometimes there’s good days, and sometimes there are bad bads. There’s times where I want to tell him something, and I realize I can’t go ahead and tell him.”
But it’s that example Alan’s family hopes the next generation of law enforcement will follow.
David said, “The more officers we get out there that realize that’s the right thing to do and to put a little extra effort into something is important.”
That’s where some former classmates are stepping in to help by establishing a memorial scholarship at Black Hawk College by sharing the legacy of his service.
David said, “He was always there to help people. It’s nice people want to do that in return, so that he is remembered so that people also realize that it’s important to go that extra mile for somebody else.”
“I hope that they know he was a man of faith. Deep faith. He was very close to his Lord, and he loved his family, and he wanted to help people. To serve and to protect, that’s what their motto is,” said Lucille.
While also being a small way to heal.
Lucille said, “Anything positive will be helpful.”
Alan’s wife and son also work in law enforcement.
His brother David is the full-time police chief in Hampton and part-time chief in Conesville, Iowa.
He told Local 4 News that he’s been in contact with a group called Blue Help, which supports those impacted by law enforcement suicides.
Another step David’s taken is reaching out to his officers and making counseling resources available in dealing with some of the stresses of the job.
The get the scholarship and endowment in Alan’s name they need to raise $10,000.
There’s a Go Fund Me page set up. People call also mail checks to Julie Gardner, a classmate of Alan’s who is leading the effort to organize the scholarship. (3201 176th Avenue Sherrard, Illinois 61281)
The group is also looking for people to share the Go Fund Me or information about the cause.