Matthew Zerebny scrolls through the website he launched to promote his new clothing line “The Cora Rayne Collection.” The inventory includes t-shirts, coffee cups, shoes, just to mention a few. The brand is named after his granddaughter Cora Rayne, who is the daughter of fallen Palm Springs police officer, Lesley Zerebny.
“It’s for the survivors, for those who are left behind like with our granddaughter, she’s an angel,” Matthew Zerebny said. “For some of the families who now don’t have a mom or dad, it’s for them.”
On October 8, 2016, Lesley Zerebny and Gil Vega died in the line of duty. Zerebny left behind her young daughter who was only a baby at the time.
“You wake up in the middle of a nightmare everyday,” Matthew Zerebny said. “There are no words to describe the loss.”
A pain that pushed her father-in-law, Matthew Zerebny, to create a clothing line to help support other families who have also lost their loved ones in the line of duty.
“In our country, we live in the wealthiest country in the world, and we don’t take care of our heroes, widows or kids,” he said.
According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, “a total of 1,511 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty during the past 10 years, an average of one death every 58 hours or 151 per year.”
“The Cora Rayne Collection” was launched earlier this year. Customers can buy pre-designed pieces or have something custom made. More than 50% of the proceeds are donated to the families of other fallen heroes.
Matthew Zerebny has worked with lawmakers such as Congressman Raul Ruiz to draft a bipartisan bill known as “The Heroes Lesley Zerebny and Gilbert Vega First Responders Survivors Support Act.” All while making sure young Cora Rayne remembers her brave mother.
“The challenge especially with Cora [is that] anytime she has a milestone: she walks, she talks or she goes to school, her mom is not here to see it, which it rips your heart out,” Matthew Zerebny said.
The family talks to Cora Rayne about her mother, so she can always know that Lesley Zerebny was a true hero.
“A woman who sacrificed her life for her community,” he said. “And Cora as she’s getting older, she’s more and more like her mom.”
For more information about the clothing line, click here.