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Amanda Guerra, NBCDFW.com
Two Mansfield police officers connect with the family of a New York officer they donated money in the memory of in the wake of Sept. 11.
Two North Texas police officers who visited New York shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks said their trip back to ground zero for the 10th anniversary came full circle.
Mansfield Officer Thad Penkala and Cmdr. Kyle Lanier visited Lower Manhattan 13 days after the World Trade Center towers fell to help and donate $10,000 to a fallen hero.
"We were literally walking down the streets, kicking a rock down the road, trying to figure out, 'What are we going to do with [the] money?" Lanier said.
They noticed a New York Police Department precinct that had a shrine outside dedicated to an officer.
"It had pictures of Sgt. Tim Roy, so we started looking at it, went inside and spoke to somebody about it. We asked, 'What happened to him?'" Lanier said.
Roy was in Manhattan by chance when the planes hit. Instead of leaving, he told his wife he had to stay and help.
"He went in and out several times to help people out. ... The last time he went into the south tower, it collapsed," Lanier said.
Lanier and Penkala donated the money on the spot.
They met Roy's family in New York when they went back to the city for the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
Lanier said he noticed a young boy with a badge when he was walking down the street taking pictures.
"I glanced and looked at the name tag and it said 'Roy,'" he said. And I said, 'Are you Tim Roy's son?' He said, 'Yes I am.' I said, 'Well 10 years ago, we were here, and we donated a large amount of money in your dad's name.'"
The officers were soon introduced to the rest of the Roy's family.
Later that day, his wife turned to Lanier and handed him her husband's badge.
"She turns around and looks at me and says, 'We brought this down here today ... to give to someone,'" he said. "She said, 'This is the one I have. The other one is buried with Tim.'"
"I told them to look at this as fate -- that we were meant to go by the shrine, donate the money, know about the sacrifice Sgt. Tim Roy had for all of us," Penkala. "And then 10 years later, meet them, know they're doing well and have a connection with them that will last the rest of our lives -- that's fate."