The Michael J. Burke Character in Adversity Award


Krista & Aidan Burke

Michael J. Burke was born on May 3, 1968.  In 1996, he became a Deputy for the Lake County (Ohio) Sheriff’s Office where he faithfully served as a patrol deputy and detective.  In 2002, he joined the Kettering (Ohio) Police Department as a police officer, where he served the community for 18 years.  During his career in Kettering, he held the positions of Patrol Officer, Public Information Officer, Accident Reconstructionist, Field Training Officer, Honor Guard Member, Hostage Negotiator, Bike Patrol Officer, Detective, and Polygraph Examiner.

“Mike” Burke was known for his faith, quick-wit, sense of humor, and devotion to his family.  He was a role model for both officers and citizens.  He volunteered for St. Charles Borromeo Church and was a member of the Knights of Columbus.  His quiet strength remained a constant source of comfort for those he worked with and for those that he served.

In 2018 Mike was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).  His struggle with this devastating disease revealed his tremendous character.  As he faced each new debilitating symptom of this terrible disease, his friends and family watched in admiration as he met each challenge with grace, humility, determination, and faith.  When he passed, his family and friends felt a considerable loss; however, he left them with an inspirational example of how to face challenges and adversity.

The Michael J. Burke Character in Adversity Award is bestowed to an individual who demonstrates exceptional character during times of extreme adversity.  This honor is exceptionally prestigious and is only awarded when an individual demonstrates moral excellence, valor, and perseverance, dedication to family and friends, and serves as an inspiration to others.    The recipient of this award must serve as a role model, both in their personal and professional lives, and must have exhibited both grace and determination in facing a formidable challenge.  Additionally, the recipient of this award will have demonstrated a history of strong moral character, compassion, and service to others.

The Michael J. Burke Character in Adversity Award will be determined by a committee of three members.  The committee will consist of the Kettering Chief of Police and two members designated by the Chief.  It is preferred that at least one of the members of the committee worked with Michael or knew him personally.

Once a qualified candidate has been selected, they will be recognized and presented with a commemorative award.  Additionally, a corresponding donation will be made to the ALS Foundation.


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