To those who knew him, Michael Maloney was a larger-than-life yet down-to-Earth police chief who loved helping out however he could and having fun with friends, family and strangers.
That's precisely why local law enforcement agencies feel a massive St. Patrick's Day celebration is the perfect way to raise a pint, plenty of hearty laughs, and some money for a great cause in memory of a man who made an impact on everyone he met.
"We're always going to be mourning, but we felt this is something he really would've loved," said North Hampton Police Sgt. Josh Stokel, who said the event will serve as way for the community to "move on" from the mourning period and embrace happier memories of the slain Greenland police chief, who was killed during a drug raid in Greenland on April 12, 2012. "He would've been the first one here."
The North Hampton chapter of the New England Police Benevolent Association will partner with Locals Restaurant and Pub to throw a 12-hour, raffle-filled St. Patrick's Day celebration in honor of Maloney — who served in North Hampton before becoming Greenland's police chief in 2000 — at 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 17.
Money raised through raffles, T-shirt and sticker sales, and other donations, as well as 10 percent of Locals' bar profits, will help cover the costs for Maloney's family and members of the Greenland Police Department to attend a special memorial service for Maloney — who was honored with a Red Cross 'Hero' award Thursday — in Washington, D.C., in May.
Maloney's name, along with numerous others, will be added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, a memorial for officers killed in the line of duty located on three acres of federal park land in D.C.'s Judiciary Square.
North Hampton Police Officer Kate Horgan said Maloney's friends have been trying to find a way to allow his family to be a part of that ceremony, and based on an already "unbelievable" outpouring of support for the St. Patrick's Day benefit Horgan said that goal should be easily fulfilled.
"Area businesses have been unbelievably generous," said Horgan, who said sports memorabilia, jewelry, power equipment and gift cards are among some of the items donated thus far for the raffles. "It's past the mourning. It's time to celebrate. He was a wonderful chief and a wonderful man. It's time to celebrate that."
While the celebration — which North Hampton officers hope will turn into an annual bash — comes roughly one year after Maloney's life was cut short, Maloney's friends say there are other reasons why next weekend is the perfect time of the year to honor his life.
"You couldn't have picked a better day than St. Patrick's Day," said Tom Simmons, a semi-retired Greenland patrolman who's known Maloney since their days together in the North Hampton Police Department. "He's very proud of his Irish heritage."
Simmons and Stokel said they expect many boisterous stories and ribbing to come out on March 17, which is exactly how both men said Maloney would want it to be.
"He wanted to be where the action was," said Simmons. "I just can't tell you what it was like working with him. He was always there for you when you needed him — and sometimes when you didn't need him. He was one of the best friends I've ever had on and off duty."
More information about the event is available by contacting the North Hampton Police Department at 964-8621.
Donations can be made by using the NEPBA Charitable Foundation's federal tax ID (which is 26-2700349), sending checks addressed to "NEPBA Charities MEMO: Maloney" to the North Hampton Police Department or the NEPBA, or by contacting the North Hampton Police Department.