By Amanda Shaw and Sarah Danik
Mar 19, 2016
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) –
Kassy Alia understands all too well the pain of losing a spouse in law enforcement.
Her husband, Greg Alia, was a Forest Acres police officer fatally shot inside Richland Mall in September 2015. Alia, 32, served on the force for seven years and the couple had just welcomed the birth of a son, Sal.
Patrick Walsh, friend and fraternity brother of Alia, set up a memorial fund to support Kassy and Sal after Greg’s death. The GoFundMe raised more than $204,000, which Kassy Alia said has been a tremendous help as she learns to cope with being a single parent.
“It’s been incredible for peace of mind and restoring my faith in humanity to see that much of an outpouring for my husband’s sacrifice and his service,” she said.
Walsh also helped Kassy Alia start the “Heroes in Blue” campaign to support law enforcement and honor Greg Alia’s memory.
“Our first goal with Heroes in Blue is to strengthen community and police relationships,” Alia said. “For every negative story that’s out there, there are thousands of positive interactions occurring daily that we are not focusing on.”
When they heard Greenville officer Allen Jacobs was killed in the line of duty, they knew they needed to help.
Jacobs, 28, was a father of two who was expecting a baby in July with his wife. He served with the U.S. Army in the Iraq War and was a decorated veteran. Friends said he hoped to one day join the FBI.
Alia said she was applying for non-profit status for Heroes in Blue when she heard the news.
“My heart sank,” she said. “It was all too familiar with my story.”
Before Alia even knew Officer Jacobs’ name, she and Walsh set up a GoFundMe account to benefit his family. In one day, the fundraiser had collected more than $44,000.
“I’m proud we’re able to do that for the family,” Alia said. “Officer Jacobs was a war hero. He was a selfless servant. He served his community. He was a father, a husband.
“We are only beginning to learn how amazing this man was, and for us to be able to direct the attention toward this hero… I’m grateful we have the resources and right people on board to be able to do so.”
Alia said she hasn’t contacted Jacobs’ wife directly out of respect, but has asked local law enforcement to relay her support.
“I am here for her, I am sending her love, and I one hundred percent appreciate that she needs to be with the people that comfort her at this time,” Alia said. “We are pushing forward in her husband’s memory and we love her.”