Friends rally to help law enforcement widow plan for funeral and future
Sgt. Crystal Smolen says she lost her husband and her best friend. Deputy Andrew Smolen suffered a sudden seizure September 4th and died September 11th. But this law enforcement couple is not alone. Friends and family are organizing to help them through this.
The Caldwell County Precinct 1 Constable's Office is truly family. They showed us a photo of newly-certified Deputy Constable Andrew Smolen with his wife Crystal, who is also a sergeant in the office.
It was Crystal who introduced Drew to Constable Smitty Terrell. Terrell recalls, “He expressed the fact that he wanted to be a police officer. So I decided to go ahead and cover him when he went to school."
To hear Constable Terrell tell it, there's not a lot of money to be made being a deputy constable. Terrell explains, “Their full income was solely due to the fact that they could work road security."
That's why we found Crystal picking up some extra money keeping children safe as they leave the Meridian School in Round Rock instead of home planning her husband's funeral. Crystal says, “Unfortunately he only gets a small benefit from the military to help for burial. And since he was a reserve officer which means he was an unpaid police officer, we don't have any benefits or anything else."
Family and friends are trying to help. Chief Deputy Constable Richard Sanders pointed us to an online effort. He says, “You go to shieldofhope.org and as you're filling in the blanks there's a drop down menu and go under Andrew Smolen’s fund."
Meanwhile Crystal is also struggling to find a church big enough for Drew's funeral. She's expecting a big turnout from their brothers and sisters in blue. “Every church that we've tried that can accommodate at least 400 people is booked or busy, so we haven't been able to work out the details of when his funeral will be."
And speaking of expecting, Crystal will be her own "+1." She's pregnant with their third child.