What makes a great community? Is it a trendy coffee shop? Unique boutique? Fun family events? Those venues are part of many communities, including our own. But what makes our community truly one of the best? It’s the people.
This week we have experienced a tremendous loss. Rochester Police Officer Daryl Pierson was shot and killed in the line of duty; leaving behind a devastated wife and children, family members, a stricken police force, and a grieving community.
In the midst of this darkness, our community has come together. We have brought light into the night. Literally. Blue lights to be exact; many families and businesses displayed blue lights, starting the night of the calling hours, and leaving them on until the night of the funeral. We have seen countless examples of people coming together to support one another, and to bring hope back to our neighborhoods.
We are thankful for a police force that protects us and for the brotherhood that is the Rochester Police Department, who stood vigil over Officer Pierson around the clock, until the day of his funeral.
Hope Church, which is adjacent to the funeral home, became a refuge for the police force & family members. Pastor Kirk Dueker got to witness first hand our community drawing together, he shares: “at times of tragedy like this, the whole community grieves for the family and the [officers] who are so profoundly impacted by this loss. And yet we see how God, who knows all about suffering and grief, works through people to provide strength and comfort.” There are no words to describe what it was like to see the officers stand guard and then the procession of police cars that escorted Officer Daryl downtown for his funeral the next day.
We are thankful for members of this community who came together to care for each other. From the local businesses, who kindly donated meals and snacks, to members of local churches & other volunteers who gave their time to distribute and serve them. In the midst of tragedy, we found beauty in a community, standing together, to honor one of our own.
Reverend Mitch Evan, who is the pastor at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship, and Officer Pierson’s father-in-law, spoke powerful words at the funeral service. He recalled a time when he was learning to sail in Florida, and he saw the nature of wind. “Winds change; sometimes softly, sometimes violently… drastically. The sailor need to adjust to those changes. It’s a skill. It’s a challenge. Life can be like that.”
He spoke of a time before a sail boat’s sail fills with new winds. There is a moment when “the wind is completely out of the sail; hence the saying knocked the wind out of our sail. “ He shares that this is a “critical moment.”
The death of Officer Pierson certainly knocked the wind out of Rochester’s sails, and we certainly faced a critical moment. But, as Reverend Evans shared “Does Rochester have heart or what!?” We will never forget Officer Daryl Pierson. We can think of no greater way to honor his sacrifice, than to continue to make our community a place that brings light, even in the darkest night. Sacrifice. Honor. Courage. Kindness. Peace. Strength. How proud we are to live in Rochester, NY.
If you would like to show your support for the family with other community members you cant attend the Walk for RPD Officer Daryl Pierson on September 20th in Greece, NY.