On August 22, 2008, the world for BBO member and Perth Amboy Police Officer Mimi Raji, as she knew it, would be changed forever. Her husband, Tommy, who was also a Perth Amboy Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty by a drunk driver while transporting a prisoner to the Middlesex County Jail.
Mimi, who was pregnant with their child at that time, has spent every day of the last ten years, ensuring not only that Tommy’s memory is honored, but also that their daughter, Mikayla, knows how much her father was loved and respected.
On Saturday the US Navy Sprint Football team took on Caldwell University in NJ. Guided by Brothers Before Others board member/retired NYPD Police Officer Rob O’Donnell, the Midshipmen honored both Mimi and Mikayla. Rob, whose son Gavin is a senior at the US Naval Academy and plays for the team, organized a pre-game tailgate, sponsored by Hero King (Nutley, NJ) as well as a halftime presentation.
Surrounded by the entire Navy Sprint Football team as well as members of BBO, Mimi and Mikayla were presented with a canvas portrait done by BBO partner, Philadelphia Police Officer and forensic sketch artist, Jonny Castro. Jonny, who has been doing portraits of American heroes since 2016, wanted to capture something special with this portrait. Recognizing that Mikayla never had the opportunity to meet her father, let alone have a photo together, Jonny wanted to present her with the opportunity she was never afforded. As such, Jonny included Mikayla in his portrait, creating a breathtaking image of her with her dad.
Mimi said, “When I saw them holding a wrapped portrait today, I figured it was another painting of Tommy. NEVER did I expect a painting of Tommy and Mikayla. The emotions that rushed through me are inexplainable. This is the first and only time that I have been able to see my daughter next to her father. I’m so blessed to have the friends and support I have. Ten years later and they are still remembering him and honoring his only child. You have no idea what it means to me. You have no idea how all of you who have ever supported us and have been there, even in the slightest way, have touched our hearts. Thank you for showing Mikayla how special she is and how loved and respected her daddy was. This portrait blew me away!”
Nine Line Apparel, who are notorious for their unapologetic support of the US military and civil servants, also provided gift bags for both Mimi and Mikayla.
BBO Founder/President Michael Burke and the over 5,000 members of Brothers Before Others would like to thank the Midshipmen, not only for their selfless gift of their time and respect today, but for their sacrifice of service to our country. Allowing this group to give one of our own and her family a special day such as this one, was a gift for us as much as it was for the Raji’s.
For More Information on Tommy Raji:
For the Mikayla Raji Education Fund:
For the US Navy Sprint Football Team Information:
For More on Hero King(Nutley, NJ):
For Nine Line Apparel:
*A full Catalog of Jonny Castro’s Work Can Be Found on Both FB and Instagram By Searching
“Jonny Castro Art”