Lowell High School teacher Cari Slot wiped away tears after watching a video of her late brother-in-law, Trevor Parker Slot, on the Lowell football stadium scoreboard.
The video warmly reviewed the life and public service of Slot and of the late Bobby Kozminski. Both were police officers killed in the line of duty, and both were honored at this year’s Lowell Homecoming football game. Members of their families were grand marshals in the parade, watched the pre-game video from the field and took part in the coin toss as a police color guard stood by.
For Cari Slot, the moving moment culminated an emotional week of tribute to her husband Chris’ brother and to Kozminski, which reinforced her love of a supportive community. “I am blown away, and very humbled,” said Slot, a computer science teacher, prior to the game. “I care about this community so much. They never surprise me. It’s fabulous.”
Organized by football coach Noel Dean, the tribute included fundraisers for the Trevor P. Slot Foundation and the Robert A. Kozminski Scholarship Fund. Family members talked with Dean’s football players, who wore helmet decals in the officers’ memory. Dean said he wanted to honor the officers’ sacrifice and raise students’ awareness and respect for law enforcement.
“You’re hoping you can grow them with some empathy towards what these families are going through and have gone through,” said Dean, who developed the idea after being told by Bill Simonson, host of the radio program “The Huge Show,” that Officer Kozminski was a big Lowell football fan. Officer Slot was tied to the community had served on the Lowell Police force before joining the Walker Police Department.
Slot was killed three years ago, in October 2011, when he was struck by the vehicle of fleeing bank robbers while trying to place “stop sticks” on Int. 96. Kozminski, a Grand Rapids Police officer, was killed in 2007 by a shotgun blast while responding to a domestic disturbance incident.
The Homecoming event was an “awesome” tribute to both officers, said Maria Kozminski, Bobby’s mother. “It’s bittersweet, that’s for sure,” she said. “We wish we didn’t have to be here for this occasion. But the remembrance and honor of our son is what means so much to us.”
Cari Slot said she appreciated the funds raised in the officers’ memory but that the week meant something more. “It’s not really about the money,” Slot said. “It’s making sure people don’t forget what Trevor and Bobby Kozminski did. They made the ultimate sacrifice: protect and serve.”