CORTLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – The community is standing behind a local police officer after tragedy struck his family.

Hermitage Police officer Jay Barnett’s wife Jessy died suddenly last month. They have seven kids.

Friends and family have been raising money for Jay and his kids.

“Jessy did homeschool, as well as all the extracurricular activities. So, we’re coming together to help Jay (Jason) through this time that he’s going to need a little extra help,” said Breanna Dyson, the fundraiser’s organizer.

On Sunday, they held a spaghetti dinner.

Officer Burnett has done a lot for the surrounding community and now they’re wanting to give back to him.

“They definitely would go out of their way for people in need,” said organizer Breana Dyson. “The kids and Jay and Jessy were part of a lot of great organizations that give back to the community.”

Jay is an officer in Hermitage but lives in Kinsman. His neighbor and family friend Rachel Ward wanted to make sure the family was taken care of as they grieve.

Rachel and Jessy’s children are friends and the two women shared a bond as mothers.

“She was the best and really an inspiration to me, she always could find the silver lining in anything no matter what,” Ward said.

They held a spaghetti dinner on Sunday at the Cortland Moose Lodge. It was to help cover some of the family’s everyday spending. They also hope to raise money for a new vehicle for the Barnett family.

The spaghetti dinner will also included chances to win raffles and prizes and a bake sale.

The spaghetti dinner was from 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday afternoon at the Cortland Moose Lodge off of Route 46.