SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - On Saturday, hundreds of community members gathered to support one Springfield Police officer.
When the police department and the community learned that Lieutenant Reggie Miller was battling a rare disorder, they knew it was time to come together for someone who's always been there for them.
Lt. Reggie Miller has been out of work since September of last year as he battles Amyloidosis, a disease that affects someone's organs, but those who work with him says his absence is felt.
Acting Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood tells Western Mass News that Reggie is a pioneer of the Forest Park C3 Policing Program.
"It was a lot of work to get it rolling, but," Acting Commissioner Clapprood tells us. "Reggie took it and ran with it, got involved with the kids, the sports programs, put up with me and my whiffle ball and baseball, and bought a slushie machine for the kids. He was perfect for it."
That commitment to his community is why so many turned out to the Elks Lodge Saturday night to help raise money for Reggie during his fight.
"Very overwhelming," says Reggie. "I'm at a loss for words. It's really uplifting, my spirit mentally, [and] physically. It's just good to see that people recognize and appreciate what you do."
"Reggie amplifies what I'm trying to get through to the department, and," continued Acting Commissioner Clapprood. "The ideology of C3 that, when you get to know the community and they get to know you, then they know what to expect from you, and then there's a trust that's formed between us."
In addition, a number of businesses and items were donated goods to be raffled off, but Reggie says that the night was also about raising awareness of the disease.
"I just felt that," stated Reggie. "This is bigger than me...if I can save somebody else from going through what I've been through, so I'm willing to share my story."
While he continues to be out of work during his recovery, he says he looks forward to serving the people of Springfield again soon.
"It strips you, and," says Reggie. "You don't realize how much you appreciate it. It's a reward for us...it's a reward, because we're going out and helping people in the community. It's rewarding."
Reggie says that he is currently undergoing chemo at Boston Medical University and will eventually have to go through stem cell transplants and recovery.