Amanda and CPD Sergeant Dennis Pedigo. WRCBtv.com photo
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -
Seven-year-old Amanda Giovengo worked for three full days out in the hot summer temperatures, selling lemonade to help raise money for Officer Dennis Pedigo Jr. and the families of the five fallen heroes.
She told Channel 3 she wanted to help in her own way.
"We had it in a cooler and it was at the bottom of our driveway and we had big signs and we also had lemonade tea," said Amanda Giovengo.
We asked her what she would say, if she could speak to the victim's families.
"I'm really sorry for your loss," said Giovengo, " I'm raising money and I hope it helps."
At 50 cents a cup, she raised more than $300. When Chattanooga Police Officer Pedigo heard about Amanda's generous spirit and that she wanted to meet him, he made meeting her a top priority.
'It just opens your heart so much to see this little girl love so much in the community, we need more people like that,' said Officer Dennis Pedigo.
Amanda gave him a check with a personal letter to feel better, she let him know he was in her prayers and he was her hero
"Thank you for keeping us safe," said Giovengo.
In a hug Pedigo told Amanda: "Thank you, I appreciate all of the hard work that you did and from all the other policemen and the military we say thank you. You've got a big heart, thank you."
Officer Pedigo tells Channel 3, the community support he's seen since the shootings has been overwhelming.
"It just tears your heart to know the outpouring of all the love," said Officer Pedigo, "It just makes you speechless to know everybody has a big heart. I just want to thank all of my family and friends, all of my police brothers and sisters out there, from our Mayor to our Chief and all of the officers that opened their hearts, they've been there to give support."
Pedigo was wounded in the July 16 shooting that claimed the lives of four U.S. Marines and a U.S. Navy Sailor. He was working traffic as part of a funeral procession the day of the shooting when he heard the call "active shooter " go out over the radio.
Without hesitation, he ran toward the shooting scene on Amnicola Highway. Pedigo suffered a demobilizing gunshot wound to his ankle during the fight, fellow officers drug him out from under the gunfire to safety.
"I can't put any weight on my foot for at least 2 months, so looking at 6 months to a year maybe longer before I can even walk again," said Officer Pedigo.
Family members tell Channel 3, had the bullet gone any lower he would have lost his leg completely. Pedigo says he doesn't consider himself a hero.
"I just felt like I was doing my job, that's what I was trained to do and that's what I did. We've got a good police family I think this might have just brought us all closer."
He has been by both memorial sites paying his respects to the fallen servicemen and says he too is praying for all of the families who lost a loved one that day.
There's still a long journey ahead, physically, emotionally and financially for the Pedigo family. He and his wife are unable to work, in addition he lost the additional income from his second job.