The Lewis and Clark Community was heartbroken by the recent loss of a beloved Trailblazer. St. Louis County Police Officer Blake Snyder, a 2003 L&C graduate, was killed in the line of duty in St. Louis County Oct. 6.
L&C held a memorial for Snyder before an L&C men’s soccer game Oct. 15, during which citizens of the Riverbend area gathered at the game to pay tribute to him and support the wife and two-year-old son he left behind.
“Blake Snyder is, and always will be, a Trailblazer,” said Doug Stotler, L&C athletics director, at the memorial. “Blake played very hard and with a passion… Blake was also a great teammate. He played together with his teammates and always put the team needs before his own.”
Head Coach Tim Rooney and former teammate Ryan Hodge, who is now an assistant coach at L&C, presented the Snyder family two Blake Snyder Memorial t-shirts with his last name and his number, 11, on the back.
In lieu of announcing starting lineups for the men’s soccer team, Stotler announced only one name and number, Snyder’s.
Stotler emphasized that the best way to show love for the Snyder family was to not be silent. For 33 seconds, a second for each year of Snyder’s life, the audience was asked to cheer and clap.
“We want this day to be filled with healing, recovery and love,” Stotler said.
Snyder’s father, Dick Snyder, also spoke at the event. Dick Snyder is a former L&C administrator and professor emeritus.
“The first indication he had an interest in law enforcement came when he took an academic scholarship to Wash. U. That’s a pre-law school,” Dick Snyder said. “When we asked him what his goal was, he said he wanted to go to the FBI.”
Eventually, Blake Snyder became interested in joining the police force after meeting his wife Elizabeth, who has many officers in her family. When he applied at the police academy, his father admitted that he was concerned.
“I’ll be honest with you. The scenario which took his life was my worst nightmare,” Dick Snyder said. “We talked about so often that very situation. He tried to reassure me, ‘Dad, it’ll be okay.’”
Despite this painful event, the family finds comfort in Blake Snyder’s legacy.
“And, so Adam and Mom and I have this tremendous sense of peace because we knew he followed his passion,” Dick Snyder said. “Not everybody does that. Some people simply take a job and go through it day after day. He died doing exactly what he wanted to do.”
L&C has raised more than $6,500 through concessions, t-shirt sales and other donations in honor of Snyder. The money has been donated to The Backstoppers, Inc., and will help support Snyder’s family.