“Law enforcement officers are never ‘off duty.’ They are dedicated public servants who are sworn to protect public safety at any time and place that the peace is threatened.”
~ Barbara Boxer
Today is the funeral of Officer Joe Pacheco. He was a member of the Munster Police Department for several years, working in many positions including school resource officer at the local high school. A little over a year ago, he began his biggest battle: that was with malignant brain cancer.
The illness of a public servant is something that rallies a community. For several months, people of all ages have engaged in fundraising activities to help pay for his treatment and care as well as to give support to his wife and children. Students from grade schools, middle schools, and the high school had all sorts of fundraisers as well in order to show their support and love for a person who gave so much to them.
Perhaps the illness of a police officer stirs something in all of us because we view our police officers as strong men and women. We view them as “untouchable” in many ways. When sickness strikes one of them, it is a great reminder to us all that anyone can become ill, anyone can get a terminal illness, anyone is subject to death.
As we have the opportunity to teach people by the manner in which we live our lives, so, too, we have a great opportunity to teach people by the manner in which we face death. Officer Pacheco faced death head on. He was not afraid and did not give up. He lived each day to its fullest, attempting to do as much as he could both for himself as well as for others. His courage in the face of a life-threatening illness teaches us that we, too, can summon the strength that we need to fight if we just will to do so.
A lot of Officer Pacheco’s strength came from his faith in Jesus. He was a man who believed in the Lord and counted on God’s help. I believe that is what made him the admirable man and officer that he was to so many people. His example is something for each and every one of us. He taught us to love life, to live it to its fullest, and to trust God no matter what. God bless him with eternal life. God bless his grieving wife, children, and family. And God bless all of those who protect and serve as police and other emergency services personnel.
FAITH ACTION: Pray for the repose of the soul of Officer Pacheco and pray, as well, for all of the men and women who serve our communities in order to keep us safe.