Local girls donate Christmas money to slain NYPD officers

When two New York City police officers were shot and killed in their squad car last month, Americans rallied behind law enforcement.

A fund was started to pay off the mortgages of the fallen officers’ families and donations came in from all 50 states.

Gretchen Lysne and Victoria Lysne, of West Salem, are 9 and 7 years old. Even though they never met Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, the girls used all their Christmas money to hopefully brighten up the holidays for the fallen officers’ families.

The sisters each received $20 for Christmas. Like most kids, they thought about the toys they could buy with that money, but then they overheard their parents talking about two police officers who had been shot in New York City.

“It hit me watching (Rafael Romas’) casket, watching all these police officers, his family gathered in New York City, that we needed to actually do something, not just say we should do something,” said Rachel Lysne, Gretchen and Victoria’s mother.

Like their parents, Gretchen and Victoria wanted to help. So instead of buying a new toy with their money they donated it.

“I was just somewhat speechless,” Rachel Lysne said.

“I didn’t want to put any obstacles in their way,” said Craig Lysne, the girls’ dad.

“I didn’t want them to have to pay for their house anymore and I wanted them to have the rest of a good life,” said Gretchen.

“I hope they can just not be sad about their husbands anymore and have a good life,” said Victoria.

The girls told their parents their kind gesture isn’t a big deal. It’s just the right thing to do. But the Ramos and Lui families are sure appreciative.

“Nothing will ever bring my brother back, but just to know that my sister-in-law and the boys can sleep just a little bit better amidst this tragedy fills a little bit of that gap,” said Sindy Ramos, Rafael Ramos’ sister, at an event in New York City this week.

Rachel Lysne and Craig Lysne said they were humbled by their daughters. They said they have always tried to teach their kids the importance of police officers, firefighters and the military.

There was over $1 million raised and donated to pay for the mortgages of the Ramos and Liu families.