Family, friends and strangers have come together to seek justice for John “Jack” Fay, 66, who was murdered during his daily jog at City Park May 17.
Based on anonymous donations, the Warwick Police Department (WPD) announced last week a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for his death.
Fay’s daughter, Meaghan Fay, said she is grateful for the generosity, noting that the vigil she and her family held at City Park in late July helped raise more awareness not only about the crime, but gave people a closer look at the type of man her father was – a hardworking, intelligent person who loved his children and grandchildren.
He was a retired letter carrier with the U.S. Postal Service, and also a Vietnam War Army veteran with a Purple Heart.
“The whole point of the vigil was to make sure that people knew my father was a family man who ran every morning, and also to bring a lot of attention to the case,” she said. “A lot of people contacted the Warwick Police after the vigil, wanting to know what they could do to help. We’re just trying to do whatever we can for more information.”
Capt. Robert Nelson of the WPD agrees.
“It was something that was talked about in order to generate solid information on this case,” he wrote in an e-mail.
In addition to the reward, Fay’s brother Gerald and his wife Sheila, who live in Olympia, Wash., sought approval from the local Parks and Recreation Department to install a cast iron bench at City Park to honor Fay.
After permission was granted, the couple spearheaded a fundraiser for the bench, which will be adorned with a brass plate inscription to read: “In loving memory of Jack W. Fay, who ran in this park for over 30 years until his untimely death on May 17, 2013. Enjoy this place and find peace in your rest.”
While there is a memorial of flowers where Fay’s body was found along the path, the bench would be a more permanent tribute. Gerald and Shelia hope it will be installed in the same vicinity.
“It allows people to feel that they are doing something in his memory that’s tangible,” Sheila said. “People will always remember that he ran in that park. We thought it would be something positive to do. It has meaning.”
They started the initiative in early August after visiting Rhode Island for the vigil. Local residents expressed their desire to honor Fay, so Gerald and Sheila came up with the bench concept and opened an account, “Justice for Jack Fay” at South Sound Bank in Washington. By the second week of September, they raised enough funds.
“Before we knew it, we had enough money for the bench,” said Sheila. “There’s still money coming in. My husband was really overwhelmed that all these people, both in Olympia and Rhode Island – some who didn’t even know Jack – are incredibly supportive. It’s very, very touching. It shows that people are really good at heart.”
Mike Rooney, deputy director of the Parks and Recreation Department, said the department is happy to help.
“Your heart goes out to them,” Rooney said. “We’re just here to support and show them that the city cares.”
The bench, which was made and delivered by O’Brien & Sons, Inc., a company based in Massachusetts, cost approximately $1,800. The Fay family hopes to schedule a dedication ceremony soon.
Jerry and Sheila are still processing donations, with excess funds to be donated to the Rhode Island Crime Victims Compensation Fund. The account will be open through October.
Checks should be made out to “Justice for Jack Fay,” and mailed to South Sound Bank at 4530 Lacey Boulevard, SE Lacey, WA 98503.
“It’s nice to know that people who didn’t know my dad care,” Meaghan said. “It says something about the community.”
But Meaghan also said it’s frustrating that the killer or killers are still at large. Still, she has faith in the WPD to solve the case to provide justice for Fay and his family, and also keep the community safe.
“I think they are working hard and trying to do whatever they can to resolve this,” she said. “We want justice to be served.”
The attacker or attackers may have had injuries to their face, hands and arms, and possibly had an outbreak of poison ivy about a week after the attack. Information can be confidentially reported to Sgt. Mark Canning at 468-4236 or through TIPS at 732-8477 or 468-4233.