Five students from La Porte County received scholarships named in honor of fallen La Porte County Sheriff’s Patrolman Neil Thompson on Wednesday. The students were presented the scholarships at the La Porte County Sheriff’s Merit Board monthly meeting.
Riley Ott (daughter of Captain Al Ott), Cedric McCoy (son of Deputy Marvin McCoy), Gabriel Chavez (son of Deputy Corey Chavez) and Tyler Benn (son of Fleet Technician Sam Benn) all recently graduated from La Porte High School and received scholarships. This year’s scholarship essay winner is Katherine Doperalski. Katherine recently graduated from Michigan City High School and is the sister of Deputies Ryan and Evan Doperalski.
Patrolman Thompson, killed in the line of duty in 1980, is the only member of the Sheriff’s Office to have died in the line of duty. A scholarship was established in his honor for sons and daughters of Sheriff’s Office employees. Four years ago, the scholarship was opened to allow one student of a La Porte County School to receive a scholarship by writing an essay on the meaning of being a police officer. The winning essay student must also be continuing his or her education by studying criminal justice or criminology at a college or university.