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commUNITY spotlight: Bills legend Bruce Smith supports Lt. Aaron Salter Memorial Scholarship

NFL Hall of Famer Bruce Smith is forever connected to Buffalo because of his time with the Buffalo Bills.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Lieutenant Aaron Salter was a respected police officer and human being. 

When he was killed during a mass shooting at Tops on Jefferson in Buffalo in May, those who knew him said he must be memorialized in the right way.

Retired Buffalo police officers Earl Perrin and Brad Pitts and a few others started the  LT. Aaron Salter Memorial Scholarship Inc.

They got a call from a familiar name who wanted to help. NFL Hall of Famer Bruce Smith, who spoke with Channel 2's Claudine Ewing while golfing at the Jim Kelly Celebrity Classic.

"It's important that we never forget the victims as a whole and the heroism of Aaron Salter," Smith said. 

Credit: WGRZ-TV

Salter was retired and working security at the store. He is credited with saving lives before firing at the shooter only to die at the scene. 

The scholarship named in his memory is a way to give back. Ten students from the city of Buffalo will receive a $5,000 scholarship starting next year.

The students must embody what Salter stood for and his friends say he was an innovator. They fondly recall how he was working to perfect an engine to run off of hydrogen. 

"Low and behold he ended up creating the engine and having success with it and transferred that engine and technology into his motor home and he would drive it to work and it would run off water," Perrin said. 

Pitts said Salter, "Was always a technical mind that was always looking to advance in other ways besides the police job. He just wanted to do things that were creative. Growing up Aaron would take a shopping cart and put a motor to it and turn it into a moped or a scooter."

Smith said whoever receives the scholarship should "understand the sacrifice and where it came from. This man gave his life protecting others."

Events will be held to raise funds for the scholarship.

A celebrity Golf Tournament will be held on Monday, August 29, 2022, at the Lockport Town and Country Club.

Click here for more information on the golf tournament.

On the same day, the first annual Bruce Smith Black Tie Gala for Lt. Aaron Salter Memorial Scholarship Inc will be held featuring the band Shake Rattle & Rolle.

Click here for information and tickets to the gala at Seneca One Tower.

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