An upstate New York mother and five of her nine children got some unexpected help from New Jersey State Police this week.
Stacey Fraterrigo drove her family down from their home in Attica, New York to Sea Girt, New Jersey, where state police run a summertime Trooper Youth Week because her 17-year-old son Michael wants to become a state trooper.
With a family of nine children, her husband's salary as a state corrections officer doesn't leave room for motel bills when they travel. Usually she stays in churches on the road where her family band, The Band Anastazja, performs. But with no time to arrange gigs this week, five of her kids volunteered to sleep in the family van all week long while Michael was learning the life of a cop.
That was too much for Pete Stilianessis, the president of the State Troopers NCO Association. When he heard about Fraterrigo's situation, he reached out and told her his union would pay for a motel room.
"We're there to help, not hurt you and if we pass this out and it spreads like wildfire, good things will happen around the world," Stilianessis told NBC 4 New York.
The veteran trooper then treated the family to a meal at a boardwalk restaurant in Point Pleasant Beach. He would have paid for rides there, too, except Jenkinson's Boardwalk heard about his gesture and let the family ride for free.
Fraterrigo said she's very grateful, and when asked about the controversies swirling around police across the country, said 99.9 percent of them are good.
"When things go bad, that's the person I want to see, is a police officer," Fraterrigo said.