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WAWA, Pa. — Less than one week after a Delaware state trooper lost his life in a shooting outside a Wawa convenience store, community members have joined with the retail chain to help raise nearly $200,000 for Delaware State Trooper Cpl. Stephen J. Ballard's family.
The Delaware State Police created a memorial fund to help Ballard's family through the Delaware State Police Federal Credit Union following Ballard's death at a Bear, Del., Wawa c-store on April 26.
Wawa Inc. began collecting donations to be added to the memorial fund Friday and the chain has pledged to donate at least $50,000 on top of what customers give. As of Monday afternoon, efforts raised $188,000, according The News Journal.
"I have never witnessed anything that compares to what these past few days have brought to us," said Delaware State Police Capt. J. Sapp, who oversees Troop 2 in Glasgow. "I dare say it has changed my life."
Hundreds of community members and law enforcement gathered Monday morning in the Wawa parking lot along U.S. 40 at Salem Church Road to honor and remember 32-year-old Ballard, a state trooper for more than eight years, according to the report.
The store, which Ballard frequented often, hung a framed photo of the Delaware State Police emblem inside the store, the news outlet added. A memorial of balloons, flowers and stuffed animals is also growing outside the store.
A Wawa spokesperson told the Philly Voice that the convenience retailer will raise funds at its 40 Delaware stores through May 8. All the funds will benefit the memorial fund established by the Delaware State Police Federal Credit Union.
"Cpl. Ballard’s memory will live on forever," said John Sharpless, director of operations for Wawa's Delaware stores. "He was a hero deeply committed to the safety of his community.
"We hope the Memorial Fund serves as one small way for the Delaware community and all of us at Wawa to provide comfort and support to the Ballard family during this incredibly difficult time," Sharpless added.
Pennsylvania-based Wawa operates more than 750 convenience stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and Florida.