I will start with a very warm thank you to the Denver City Council for proclaiming May 15, 2017 as Peace Officer Memorial Day and this week as Police week.
It is with great respect that we can recognize the selfless work that over 10,000 men and women have endured on the Denver Police Department over the past 100 years, 72 of them paying the ultimate sacrifice.
I am so grateful to live in a county were opportunity is the norm, not the exception. As we all weave our way through this journey called life we are given countless opportunities to turn right or left, go straight or turn around. We all meet these opportunities with a different eye and a different outcome, but we are given the opportunity to choose.
I believe that the men and women that stand and protect us each and every day have made a conscious choice, having only a slight idea what may lie ahead for them. The path ahead will surely be rewarding, devastating, happy, sad, enlightening and sometimes dark and dangerous.
In my mind, they chose to walk that path because of one thing …love. Only love would send one on a journey where he or she has only a slight idea of what may be ahead…
- Love for a community
- Love for all people
- Love for right and wrong
- Love for the opportunity to see people at their worst and sacrifice themselves to make it better
- and truly, love for his/her brothers and sisters.
It takes a very special person to show that kind of love in a public forum where sometimes the actions of police officers are seen as quite the contrary to love.
I stand here today as a survivor of a fallen officer. I have seen first hand the love pour out of this job. My dad, Donald DeBruno, had a love for this job like no other job he could ever imagine. I have heard through stories how my dad:
- helped people
- counseled some in time of need
- took time to hear them when nobody else would
- was a friend
- was a wake up call to some
- and at its greatest form of love… a role model for one young lady to join the Denver Police force.
I believe that he joined the “brotherhood” of the Denver Police Department to spread love.
I also believe that on December 10, 1975 God took one of his earthly angels to heaven to walk a different beat and serve and protect from a different post.
As our family gathered strength to go on each day without him, we felt the love of the entire police force through the Denver Police Orphan’s fund. They took amazing care of our family letting us know that they had never forgotten him, or us.
In the end, life is really about only one thing…love. I am forever grateful for each and every Police officer, past, present or future, for taking the oath to keep us all safe, no matter the sacrifice. Thank you for wearing not just a badge on your sleeve, but more importantly, your heart on your sleeve. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.