There is a group of men and women that hold a special place in my heart and they are the many who serve this country selflessly. As many may know, the military has held a special place in our family for many years now. What many don’t know is that our law enforcement holds a very special place as well. And not just because of our respect for those who give for others…
In 2006 my brother-in-law, an off duty officer for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department was killed while saving passengers in an over turned vehicle on a California freeway. A man who selflessly gave his life doing not just his job, but the right thing, has shaped our family. Because of this man, my husband was shaped.
My husband’s dream was to serve as a law enforcement officer, which was what started our journey as a military family. Unfortunately, he gave his all to the military and was medically retired. Things that would disqualify him from reaching his ultimate goal. Now what may seem like a tragic ending to a goal turned out to serve a greater purpose.
Fast Forward To 2016
We were living in southern California in October 2016 when we heard about the tragic news of Palm Springs Officers Jose Vega & Lesley Zerebney. During this time the war on police was in full effect. However, hearing that this had occurred so close to our home truly hurt deep in our hearts. So our family made a decision to act.
We began creating some sweet treats to take to the vigil. At this point, we were at a loss for how to show our sorrow and support. We just wanted to offer some sort of gesture to show that we mourn with that department. Maybe see a smile. So we worked and made the two hour drive to the vigil. The out pour of support was somewhere between amazing and devastating. Here we learned the true tragedy that of the loss of these officers.
They were killed responding to a family disturbance. The assailant fired upon the officers without warning through his screen door, killing both officers. I think what hurt the most was finding out that Officer Vega was planning his retirement in a few months and Officer Zerebny had recently returned to work from maternity leave.
During that vigil we held a basket and let the kids hand out one hundred treats. The smiles and hugs received are a memory forever imprinted in my heart.
We later attended the memorial service for these officers. We assembled 500 treats, thinking this would be a significant amount. During the service we stood outside, flags in hand, watching the service on large screens, waiting for the end to hand out these treats in a show of our support, that the community stood WITH them.
When the officers poured out of the service, my heart dropped! Officers poured out in the thousands! My kids didn’t know who to go to, there were so many. The gratitude we received was strengthening because I do not think my heart could have carried on that day without it.
I cannot recall exactly how long, but those treats did not last long that day. We were unprepared but forever inspired!
Now days you hear on the news about officers being killed not just doing their job but also being intentionally targeted. It is both heart breaking and sickening. It is something I see on the news almost every day. We may not be able to do much; we may not be able to stop the violence, the attacks on those who so selflessly serve our communities.
However, Sweet Treats For Heroes will be there, continuing to send as many treats to the fallen officer’s departments as we can to show our condolences and support- just as we have been doing.
We will also be visiting as many departments as we can to personally show our support- just as we have begun doing.
As time goes on we hope to be able to personally reach more departments. We hope to become something more and to serve a greater purpose. But for now, we support each brave man and woman who wakes up each morning, kisses their family, and walks out the door to do a job in which they can only do their best to prepare for.
We Stand With You!