The family of a fallen sheriff's deputy is getting a better, safer place to live thanks to the big hearts of volunteers and the officer's comrades. Detective Jeremiah MacKay of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department was one of the officers killed in a shootout with Christopher Dorner (pictured below), the former Los Angeles cop who went on a murder spree against police in February after being fired from his job. Dorner's rampage sparked what local police describe as the largest manhunt in the history of Southern California, and it ended when he shot himself in a mountain cabin while surrounded by pursuers. Dorner killed four people, including two police officers.
Now, four months after MacKay's death, volunteers are pitching in to fix up his home to make life a little easier for the officer's wife and two children, whom he left behind, Los Angeles TV station KTLA reported. The Home Depot Foundation is behind the effort, called the MacKay Project, and volunteers are made up of Home Depot employees and MacKay's fellow police officers. The renovations include installing new windows and doors, as well as replacing carpeting, flooring, gutters and outdoor lighting.
"Now they have a little better place, a little safer place for their children to be raised in," Capt. Lee Hamblin told KTLA.
Lynette MacKay, the widow of the fallen officer, told The Press-Enterprise newspaper in Riverside, Calif., that she and her husband had many projects planned before he died. But they weren't to the level of what the volunteers were doing. "This house represents us, and so many memories are here -- not just for me, but his family as well," Lynette MacKay said. "He's still very much in the house with me. He's smiling down because he knows we're safe and taken care of."
She added: "It's still very, very hard living in this house and going to dinner around town. The Sheriff's Department has been a rock for me. They've supported our family every day. They call us just to check in and say hi."
According to L.A. station KTTV, the 80 volunteers working on the MacKay home also plan to do landscaping projects and add a new garage door. The MacKay project is part of many home improvement projects across the country that the Home Depot Foundation has put $80 million toward, KTTV reported.