Chief Molloy and APD Honor the Memory of Miss Valerie O. Ward, a Tireless and Faithful Servant to our Community
I have struggled to find the words to adequately express how the loss of Miss Val has impacted the entire Abington Township Police Department Family and me personally. Val was a woman with a personality larger than life, a champion for civil rights, a lifelong advocate for our youth, a partner in community policing initiatives, a counselor on issues related to building trust, a promoter of fair and impartial policing, and a supporter of the men and women of APD.
Miss Val provided a blueprint to all of us on how we should live our lives each and every day. A woman of deep faith and humility, Val promoted tolerance, love, understanding, forgiveness, and mutual respect. Over the years she served as a mediator on very difficult issues, and she always found a way to cut through “nonsense,” (as Val would say) to embrace the facts and truth of any given issue. She did not choose sides. She simply advocated for the truth. Miss Val embraced our police profession and understood our role as peacemakers and guardians. She also understood how critical it was to hold all of us accountable for our action. She was an advocate for victims, while promoting justice, rehabilitation, education, and forgiveness for offenders. Val spent thousands of hours volunteering with YAP, PAL, and other crime prevention and mentorship programs designed to keep our kids out of trouble and out of the criminal justice system. She did not just talk the talk she walked the walk every day. Val was a woman of grace, and above all, a faithful servant to her Savior and her community. While she understood and experienced firsthand the evil of hateful discrimination and racial injustice, she always chose to focus on those things that bring together. In a world that promotes division and oftentimes emphasizes what separates us, Val always chose to focus on what unites us; love, forgiveness, truth, virtue, mutual respect and our common humanity. Her leadership and commitment to these principles were critical in building bridges between APD and those whom we are sworn to protect and serve. She inspired all of us. No matter what your race or political persuasion, or status in society, Val treated you the same. These are just a few reasons why I and so many others loved her. There never will be another Miss Val. She simply is irreplaceable.
While she is gone, I promise you that APD and I will work tirelessly to promote her ideals and honor her legacy. When we embrace and support our profession’s role as peacemakers, we will be honoring Miss Val’s legacy. When we promote truth, understanding and tolerance, we will be honoring Miss Val’s legacy. When we confront our biggest challenge to building trust between police and communities, we will be honoring Miss Val’s legacy. When we see each other as instruments of peace, not division, we will honor Miss Val’s legacy. When we work tirelessly behind the scenes supporting victims, offenders and the police alike, we will honor Miss Val‘s legacy. When we commit to embracing the truth in all that we do, we will honor Miss Val’s legacy. By loving, forgiving, and knowing that we do indeed belong to one another, we will be honoring Miss Val‘s legacy.
Miss Val, I will miss your eye-rolling interruptions at meetings with your loving words, “Patty, that’s enough about this matter, now let’s talk about Jack, my grandson, or Carolyn, my wife, Val’s friend and fellow breast cancer survivor!” I will miss her requests, “I’m jonesing for Eggs Benedict and a time when this pandemic is over so we can sit down again together at a diner!”
I will truly miss her, and above all, I will miss her hugs. As one of our sergeants said yesterday, Val gave the most sincere hugs a person can give, and for those of you who have experienced a Valerie Ward hug, you know exactly what this means.
Finally, I want to leave you with this image, one that brings a tear to my eye. Yesterday, when the funeral director brought Valerie out of her Crestmont home for the final time, a group of Abington Officers formed an ad hoc Honor Guard. They stood at attention and saluted Miss Val as she left her beloved community to begin her journey to her new home. Today, Miss Val is in the arms of her heavenly father whom she faithfully served and loved above all. Rest In Peace, Miss Val. We will take it from here!