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Bikers ride to remember fallen Twinsburg police officer

by Gina Mace | reporter Published: August 26, 2016 12:00 AM
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Twinsburg -- Thanks to 205 motorcyclists and passengers, the eighth-annual Joshua T. Miktarian Poker Run on Aug. 20 raised $8,600 for the scholarships issued in the fallen officer's name.

Sunny skies greeted the riders as the day began with breakfast at Glenwillow Grille in Solon, before the first bike left the lot at 10:30 a.m.

"It was great," said Holly Miktarian of Tallmadge, Josh's widow and organizer of the fundraiser. "I want to thank everyone involved for a great event."

Bikers rode to designated stops across Northeast Ohio, where they chose a card and could buy additional cards in an attempt to forge a winning -- or losing -- poker hand.

The first stop was at the Officer Joshua T. Miktarian Memorial at Twinsburg Government Center, where many paused to reflect on the 11-year Twinsburg officer, killed July 13, 2008, following a traffic stop on Glenwood Drive.

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"We wanted to show some respect to his family and the community, let them know that just because he's gone, he's not forgotten," said Dave McPherran, who was riding with Deb Stetz.

Holly said a neighbor of Josh's from their childhood in Tallmadge attended the run.

"He told me a story about Josh when he was little," she said. "I had him tell the story to Thea."

Also riding was Joe Kerrigan, who worked for the city of Twinsburg and wanted to show his support to the Miktarian family, and Julie Wilcox, who went to school with Joshua.

All the support raised money for the Joshua T. Miktarian Memorial Scholarship, given each spring to seniors from Twinsburg and Tallmadge high schools who are entering careers in law enforcement or criminal justice.

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Three former scholarship winners manned the poker tables near the first stop at Officer Miktarian's memorial, including Olivia Bartulovic, a 2015 recipient and Twinsburg graduate who is attending the University of Mount Union; and Jovana Ilic, a 2013 Tallmadge graduate who is attending the University of Akron School of Law.

The former winners said they wanted to help raise money for the next recipients, they said.

Jacob Roberts, one of this year's recipients who is attending Kent State University, was a police explorer with the Twinsburg Police Department, as was Bartulovic.

"I accept every volunteer opportunity with the police that I can, and anything for Josh," Roberts said.

Holly said organizing the run is a labor of love each year.

"It's really been therapeutic," she said. "One of the biggest fears I had was that he'd be forgotten. That's the furthest thing from the truth."

Email: gmace@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9423

Twitter: @twinsburgohio


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