JOPLIN, Mo. — The memories of Joplin’s two fallen police officers will forever be honored. And now, even more so in the world of higher education — thanks, in part, to what happened earlier Wednesday night.

Scholarships in the names of Joplin Police Officer Jake Reed and Corporal Ben Cooper have been established at Missouri Southern. And Bright Futures Joplin helped make it possible. A check presentation was held Wednesday night — with families from both officers in attendance.

“Bright Futures Joplin – the Board, decided to give half of the proceeds from our Guns and Hoses benefit basketball game, to begin, to start scholarships for Officer Reed and Corporal Cooper. The Guns and Hoses benefit game takes place in April and involves Joplin Police Department and Joplin Fire Department,” said Amanda Stone, Bright Futures Joplin, Coordinator.

That game raised more than $14,000, giving over $7,000 to split between the two scholarships.

“What really humbles me is that I have the opportunity in this horrible tragedy to do my part to remember them and to try to keep their story alive and then by this scholarship, these students understanding what it is to go out and to do the job and why it’s so important to be professional and why it’s important to be the best that you can,” said Dr. Tim Wilson, Department Chair, Criminal Justice, MSSU.

Outside of high academic standards, officials say eligible students should also reflect the characters of both Reed and Cooper.

“These two officers gave their lives for people in the City of Joplin, and their story is very, very important. And I hope that anytime a student gets that kind of acknowledgment from somebody who thinks they deserve a scholarship, whoever the scholarship is in honor of, is very important to know about them, what it stands for, and also bring that personal responsibility to them when they go on to college,” said Dr. Kerry Sachetta, Joplin Schools Superintendent

Starting in the fall of 2023, the scholarships will be awarded to two Joplin High School graduates majoring in Criminal Justice at MSSU.