By Steve Nakata, Division of Student Affairs
The call sign of fallen police officer and Washington State University alumnus Diego Moreno waved with Ol’ Crimson on Saturday, an emotional nod to his unwavering Cougar spirit.
Moreno, a police officer in Kent, Wash., was struck and killed in July by a patrol car while deploying spike strips during a vehicle pursuit.
As a way to honor Moreno, interior designer Sharon Macy and sewing and alterations specialist Catherine Jasmer, both from WSU’s Student Affairs Auxiliary Facilities Services, worked late into the night on Thursday cutting and sewing on the letters and numbers that make up Moreno’s call sign, 2K56.
“I have never worked on something this large,” Macy said. “And when we learned about the significance of this flag, we wanted to make sure it represents WSU well and has a fresh look.”
This particular Cougar flag was waved by WSU alumni during its 200th appearance on GameDay, a national broadcast showcasing each week’s top football games. GameDay was broadcast from the Pullman campus for the first time on Saturday morning, marking the 217th time the flag has appeared on the show. Macy and Jasmer also sewed on new numbers to reflect this milestone.
The idea to add Moreno’s call sign to the flag originated with WSU police officer Mike Petlovany. Moreno, a 2005 WSU graduate and an avid Cougar fan, was his best friend. Petlovany arranged to have Ol’ Crimson hang center-stage during Moreno’s memorial service attended by thousands of people.
“One tradition related to Ol’ Crimson is that those who wave the flag get to sign their name on it,” said Petlovany. “By adding Diego’s call sign to the flag, it provides a way for him to be a part of this historic event.”
Moreno’s wife Shelly arrived on campus Friday for the weekend’s festivities and reminisced about meeting Diego on the climbing wall in WSU’s Student Recreation Center while they were students. They returned to campus many times together for sporting events after graduating.
“Diego would have been so excited about everything that is going on this weekend and would have wanted to be part of it,” she said. “For him to be recognized in this way is just fantastic.”