Monday, January 8, 2018

Strength in Community

Post by: Cristen underwood

As the wife of a police officer, I was shaken by the shootings of four Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputies and one Castle Rock Police Officer that occurred early in the morning of New Year’s Eve. As you’ve probably seen on the news, one of the Deputies, 29-year-old Zackari Parrish was killed. He left behind his parents, his wife and two daughters.

There is always an element of fear when you’re the spouse of a Law Enforcement Officer. It is a dangerous job. There will always be fear while your spouse is on duty that the doorbell will ring and an officer will be standing there, hat in hand, to deliver the very worst news of your life.

During the live-broadcasted service, Deputy Parrish’s wife, Gracie was able to get up and speak, I can’t fathom the courage and composure that took. She talked about how when her husband was sworn in, his blood turned blue. She talked about how when it was time for their daughters to learn to drive, she would lean on Deputy Parrish’s brothers in blue to teach them. She talked about how much her husband loved the job, loved helping and serving a community that needed him.

Everyone who spoke during the service mentioned the pride that Deputy Parrish had in the job that he was blessed to be able to do. How strong he was and how much he cared for everyone with whom he came in contact. How he worked so hard to serve his community.

That community came out en masse to show their support for the family. The line of first responder vehicles that accompanied Deputy Parrish’s body and his family on the way to the service was a mile long. Lights flashed on police motorcycles, ambulances, and police cruisers. The highways were closed, for the processional to have a clear path. There were people on every bridge waving flags, the roads were lined, in many places three deep with supporters. I teared up every time I saw all of those cars, in perfect, precise lines following the body of their fallen brother.

This is a difficult time to be a Law Enforcement Officer. They are trashed in the news, they’re demonized and hated as often as appreciated. My husband is a School Resource Officer and works directly with a local high school. He has amazing relationships with many of the kids in school, he works very long hours to assure that all of the students are in a safe place and receive the best support that he can give. Giving their all is the norm for Law Enforcement Officers, not the exception.

I hope that on January 5, the day of Deputy Parrish’s service, Gracie Parrish felt that community support. That the thousands and thousands of people and fellow Law Enforcement Officers who came to show their respect were a small comfort during such a horrific time in her life. Hopefully, in these challenging times, communities continue to offer love and support to all of the officers who work tirelessly to ensure their safety.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” Matthew 5:9

Cristen Underwood has been a member of BUMC since 2010.   She lives in Westminster with her husband, six-year old son, three-year old son, a very sweet black lab and a really fat cat. 

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