DLA San Joaquin pays tribute to fallen officers

By Annette Silva, DLA Distribution San Joaquin Public Affairs

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Employees of Defense Logistics Agency San Joaquin, California, law enforcement officers of the local community, congressional staff and local city council members paid tribute to the fallen law enforcement officers during a morning National Peace Officers’ Memorial Observance May 15 in the fire bay of the Public Safety Center. Assistant Sheriff Steve Pease of the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office served as the keynote speaker.

Before the keynote speech, DLA Installation Management San Joaquin site director Jonathan Mathews and DLA Distribution San Joaquin, California, Commander, Marine Col. Andre Harrell, provided remarks paying tribute to the fallen officers.

Mathews took the opportunity to pay his respect and express eternal gratitude to those brave officers who lost their lives in performance of their duties.

“Since the last time we were brought together for this somber occasion, I am saddened beyond words that we must continue to gather each year at this time to acknowledge these selfless acts of heroism in order to keep us safe and sound,” said Mathews. “ I also feel such deep sorrow for those that are left behind when these tragedies occur; the families, friends, and other loved ones who now must endure the tremendous effect of loss of a life taken away much too soon.”

Mathews went on to talk about atrocities inflicted on law enforcement that are needless acts of cowardice, and come with no warning or notice, yet they still continue to hear the calling for this line of work.

He made mention of a fallen Davis, California, police officer who was ambushed and killed January 10. Officer Corona was working a car crash when the gunman rode up on his bicycle and shot her. Corona had only been on the force for five months and was taken at the young age of 22.

“She was new to the force, and had embraced this profession with enthusiasm and dedication. As with all others, she walked out the door excited to be starting a new day full of promise. Later that day, she made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the public she served,” commented Mathews.

He concluded by telling the audience to  make it a point to tell law enforcement officers how much they truly are appreciated, and how thankful we are that they put their lives on the line daily for our collective safety.

Harrell not only gave his heart-felt thanks to the law enforcement community and first responders, he also took the opportunity to highlight the life-saving efforts that officers perform on a daily basis. He highlighted our neighbor Officer Raymundo Reynoso of the Tracy Police Department who was sitting in the crowd.

Reynoso was credited with saving the life of a Tracy resident who called her daughter to tell her that she was going to hang herself resulting from a pending divorce.

Reynoso unsuccessfully attempted to call the woman, then initiated an emergency “ping” of her phone to verify her whereabouts and went to the residence. Since no one answered the door, Reynoso and his partner began checking the perimeter of the residence and found the rear sliding door unlocked. After calling into the residence and getting no response, Reynoso and his partner entered the residence to search for the woman.

When he and his partner entered the garage, they found the woman hanging by her neck from the rafters. Reynoso and his partner quickly lifted the woman up, cut her down and then began life-saving efforts as they waited for paramedics.  Thanks to the efforts of Reynoso, the young girl’s mother is alive.

Harrell had Reynoso stand and receive a round of applause during the ceremony. Harrell concluded his remarks by thanking the police officers assigned to the installation for everything they do.

“Our own police officers assigned to our installation play a vital role. Every one of you are our first line of defense. You are responsible for safeguarding our infrastructure and protecting all employees and contractors that work here every day. It is because of you that enables us to complete our mission, providing world-class logistics to the Armed Forces, DoD, interagency partners, foreign allies and first responder customers.  I want to personally thank all of you for everything that you do,” concluded Harrell.

During the keynote remarks, Pease talked about law enforcement officers knowing that every time they put on their uniform in could be their last.

“Why do we (law enforcement) do it? Why do we put ourselves into harm’s way? What is it that thrives us to take a stand as a shield from evil? I believe it’s a sense of duty and service and we refuse to stand by and do nothing,” commented Pease.

He went on to thank all personnel that provide service to the community and nation; peace officers, firefighters, military and medical personnel.

Pease had the opportunity to participate in the California Peace Officers Memorial in Sacramento.

As he was tearing up at the podium and through a shaky voice, he spoke of how gut wrenching it was to see the pain and anguish on the fallen officers’ loved ones faces as they came up to plant a flower at the base of the memorial.

“This is the true cost of the sacrifice made by the loved ones who have lost ones in the line of duty. Spouses go on for the rest of their lives without their loved ones; children grow up without their parents; parents go on without their children; brothers and sisters go on without their siblings,” said Pease.
He shared with the audience that he has worn his badge with a black band over his 30-year career too many times to count and mentioned that he hates that he has to wear it but he respects what it stands for.

“I pray that each of you who have also chosen this line of profession that you have a long and successful career and the only time you have to wear this badge is during the next Peace Officers Memorial service,” concluded Pease.

To pay tribute to the fallen officers from California, their names were read and were given a moment of silence as Mathews and DLA San Joaquin Police Chief Khalid Ali laid a wreath in their honor in front of the American flag. Immediately, Erik Leiken of the Karl Ross Post of the American Legion played Amazing Grace on the bagpipes followed by Gardiner reading the names of the California fallen officers.