Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Deputy Sheriff Dennis Ray McElderry

Davis County Sheriff's Department, Iowa

End of Watch Friday, January 3, 2003

Leave a Reflection

Reflections for Deputy Sheriff Dennis Ray McElderry

God bless Deputy Sheriff Dennis Ray McElderry, his fiancee Jocelyne Brar, the remainder of his family, and the Davis County Sheriff's Department

Corporal P.R. OLIVER
Royal Canadian Mounted Police

August 23, 2005

I'm sorry that you died, but your death is a reminder to all officers to always be vigilant. It's obvious that your friends and family loved you and continue to love you very much. Thanks for your service.

Lori Van Roekel, Patrol K-9
Sioux City, Iowa PD

August 16, 2005

Dennis,

Sorry it’s taken me so long to write to you. I have been meaning to write for a while but there just seems to be so much to say that I never know exactly where to start. I guess, I just wanted to let you know I was thinking about you once again. Actually, I’ve thought a lot about you. Not just on special days, like your birthday, my birthday, and the Father’s Day that recently passed, but EVERYDAY - so many beautiful memories! I could sit here all day, everyday, writing about those memories. It seems like every day holds some sort of special significance or special memory that only you and I only shared. I wish we had had more of an opportunity to live, laugh, love, and share life together.

Dennis, as hard it was to lose you there has been some positive in all this. I’ve learnt a lot about myself. I've learnt that I'm a strong, beautiful soul with a lot of love and gifts to offer this world. You recognized that in me right from the get go. It’s taken me a lot longer to recognize that in myself. As you can tell, I’ve done some healing work on myself and have been able to let go of some of the anger and sadness I once carried with me. I’ve learnt just how precious life is and to not take anything or anyone for granted. Some of the relationships I’ve had with people prior to losing you have been strengthened in ways that I never would have imagined. I’ve also been able to forge new friendships with people across the globe. I can see the possibility of new loves in my life as well, which is something I never would have thought possible. I’ve seen puppies be born and have become a “dog” person. I’ve had the opportunity to travel to places like Calgary, Florida, and Washington. I’ve learned how to do things I probably never would have like Reiki and meditation. But, I guess the biggest thing I've learnt is that I can’t bring you back. We can't relive the past, and the future is not guaranteed to anyone. All we can do is live in the present. So that's what I'm trying to do. As I’m sure you’ve seen, my life has moved forward in ways that I never would have imagined. It has been an amazing journey and I know there is still so much more yet to come. So many times I've wished you were here so I could tell you all about my adventures, but I know you are watching them all from above. I know that even though you aren't here Dennis, you are still a very big part of my life. But what I’m finding more and more is you becoming a supporting character rather than the main character in my life. You used to be the “star” in my show. Now you’re the “star” that shines from a distance trying to guide and point me in the right direction. Directions that will eventually lead me back to you.

This might sound strange to some people, but I’ve also come to know and understand that you didn’t die. Yes, your human experience here on earth ended, but your spirit continues to live on. We are all spiritual beings having human experiences. Your human experience has ended. Your spirit has not. Your death, as hard as it was to accept wasn’t the end. It was a beginning. For me, it was the beginning of a new life on earth, full of new people, experiences, and things. For you, it’s a new life in the kingdom of heaven. I wish we could have shared those new beginnings together but know that someday, when it's time, I will be right there with you. I look forward to seeing you again, hearing about all the things you’ve seen and done up there, and giving you a huge hug. I miss those hugs. Without saying a word those hugs spoke volumes. No matter what happens in my “new beginning” I will always love you Dennis and I am forever grateful for the time we shared.

I was talking to someone the other day about love. My friend was telling me what she wanted from a relationship. She mentioned how she’d searched her entire life for that “special love.” That “special someone.” As she described all these things she longed for I realized how I had all those things with you. She wanted someone to listen to her, to love her unconditionally, to share in life with her, and so much more. I realized at that moment just how blessed I was. Some people search their entire lives to have what we had for a brief moment. How lucky we were!

I still remember Dennis, the first time I realized you really loved me. You’d said it so many times before but I’d often questioned how you could love someone so fast. You told me that you loved me even before you met me in person. I’ll admit that I thought you could be a little on the crazy side at first! : ) It wasn’t until the first time I came down to visit you in Iowa that I really came to know and understand that you really weren’t crazy and that you really meant what you said. I’d had driven almost 20 hours to come see you. I remember by the time I got there you were just so glad I was there. I think I was just happy I finally made it there and was too exhausted to worry about anything else. I remember telling you to point me straight to the bedroom. Looking back that sounds pretty bad, but it really wasn’t meant that way. I just needed to sleep. I had gotten there just before you were heading to work so you said I’d have plenty of time to catch up on my sleep since you’d be gone. I remember zonking out as soon as my head hit the pillow. I opened my eyes a few hours later to find you just sitting on the edge of the bed holding my hand in your hand and tracing my palm with your thumb not saying a word. I don’t know how long you’d been sitting there before I’d noticed you. When you saw I was awake you apologized for waking me. You told me that you you’d just stopped in to check on me. We talked for a little bit and I remember you telling me how glad you were that I was there and kissing my hand. At some point during our conversation I fell back asleep. I assume you went back to work. You probably didn’t think your stopping in would have been a big deal, but that meant the world to me. Looking back that doesn’t seem like much of a memory, but for memory but for me it was the first time I ever really KNEW you loved me unconditionally. I didn’t have to do anything to make you love me. We didn’t have to speak. You didn’t expect anything from me. My hair was a mess and being half asleep I probably didn’t make much sense, but you just loved and appreciated the fact that I was there. You loved me for me. It’s a memory I won’t ever forget. No matter where life’s path takes me, that memory, all the other memories we made, and the love we shared I will carry with me always. I know that even though you are not here physically you will always be there holding my hand in spirit and loving me all the way, just like you did that day at the house. Know that I will always be "holding your hand" and be in your heart as you go on your spiritual journey.

I think I’ll close here. Thanks Dennis, for sending me all the “signals” letting me know you’re still around and keeping me safe. When we meet again, I will be looking forward to that “warm wet kiss” you keep promising me every time I turn on the radio. It will be quite a day when we are reunited and I can touch your heart and your soul again.

Forever loving you,

Joss : )

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

(This song just says it all. As much as I’ve been able to find ways to move forward in life but I still find myself missing Dennis in a “round about way”. For me the “round about” is about 3am when Dennis would have normally come home from work.)

ROUND ABOUT WAY
BY: GEORGE STRAIT

As far as all my friends can tell
I took his leavin' well - that's kinda right,
'Cause when I'm out with them,
I don't let his memory rule the night.
For the most part I'm okay,
But I still miss him in a round about way.

Around about the time that midnight rolls around.
That's around about the time my tears start falling down.
'Cause he's not around,
I come unwound and my heart breaks.
Yeah, I still miss him in a round about way.

I no longer sit alone for hours by the phone,
Wishin' he would call.
And just the other day
I took his smilin' face down off my wall.
I've come a long long way,
But I still miss him in a round about way.

Around about the time that midnight rolls around.
That's around about the time my tears start falling down.
'Cause he's not around,
I come unwound and my heart breaks.
Yeah, I still miss him in a round about way.

Yeah, I still miss him in a round about way.

Jocelyne Brar (Winnipeg, MB Canada)
Dennis' Fiancée, Friend, and Soulmate

August 14, 2005

To Jocelyne, other family and friends, and fellow law enforcement family members of Deputy McElderry. I wanted to extend my deepest sympathy to all of you for the loss you suffered when you lost Dennis on January 3, 2003. I am sure that all of you miss him terribly. I am equally sure that his memory is kept alive for his children, and that they are supported by all of you. Jocelyne, I especially wanted to thank you for the many reflections I have seen posted for other officers on this web site. You are constantly paying tribute and offering support, and I am sure Dennis was, and continues to be, proud of you for the support you offer others on the same journey. This reflection is sent with the utmost respect for the service Dennis gave to his community, and the supreme sacrifice he and each of his loved ones made when he lost his life in the line of duty. Rest in Peace, Dennis. Phyllis Loya, mother of Larry Lasater, Pittsburg, CA PD eow 4/24/05

phyllis Loya, mother of fallen officer

August 10, 2005

Dennis,

I heard this song this other day and I couldn’t help but think of you. I hope you continue to “Shine Your Light” on me and on all those who’s life you touched.

Forever loving and missing you,

Joss :)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Artist: Robbie Robertson Lyrics
Song: Shine Your Light Lyrics

The cry of the city like a siren's song
Wailing over the rooftops the whole night long
Saw a shooting star like a diamond in the sky
Must be someone's soul passing by

These are the streets
Where we used to run where your Papa's from
These are the days
Where you become what you become
These are the streets
Where the story's told
The truth unfolds
Darkness settles in

Shine your light down on me
Lift me up so I can see
Shine your light when you're gone
Give me the strength
To carry on, carry on

Don't wanna be a hero
Just an everyday man
Trying to do the job the very best he can
But now it's like living on borrowed time
Out on the rim, over the line
Always tempting fate like a game of chance
Never wanna stick around to the very last dance
Sometimes I stumble and take a hard fall
Loose hold your grip off the wall

Shine your light down on me
Lift me up so I can see
Shine your light when you're gone
Give me the strength to carry on
Carry on

I thought I saw him walking by the side of the road
Maybe trying to find his way home

He's here but not here
He's gone but not gone
Just hope he knows if I get lost

Shine your light down on me
Lift me up so I can see
Shine your light when you're gone
Give me the strength to carry on
To carry on

Jocelyne
Dennis' Fiancée

July 3, 2005

We miss you. Rest in peace.

William and Stacie Woodburn
Citizens of Davis County

June 27, 2005

I find myself thinking of you often and wish I could just call you, as I do others in Davis County. Your effect on my life is immeasurable and I will cherish the memories we shared for years to come. If only we could laugh about 201 South Allen Street, Floris, Iowa one more time. I miss you brother.

Dennis Knows
Federal Air Marshal Service

June 22, 2005

Jocelyne,
I never knew this website existed until I lost my brother, Richland County Deputy Sheriff Keith Cannon, 2 weeks ago. I read the post you left on my brother's memorial page and it really touched me. I'm sorry for your loss and hate that this is the way we have to "meet" each other. My family and I now join the unfortunatily ever growing family of family of fallen officers. It has been wonderful people like you; people who have already started walking down the path, that have really helped me and my family in our difficult time. I read the letter you wrote to Dennis and could sense that you felt the same way toward him that my brother and fiancée felt toward each other. I pray that you will continue to be strong and that God will comfort you always. I know Keith has probably met Dennis by now and he along with all of the other fallen heros are patrolling the golden streets of Heaven awaiting all of our arrivals. May God bless you and all of Dennis's family and friends.

Kevin Cannon
Brother of Keith Cannon EOW 5/4/05

May 20, 2005

God bless you and those who love you. Thank you for your service on earth......and please continue to watch over us all down here.

If you happen to bump into my Michael while on patrol up there... kick him in the pants and telling I love him.

Guin Gordon
Wife of P.O. Michael P. Gordon, CPD - EOW 08AUG04

March 26, 2005

Dennis,
I have heard so much about you and your wonderful life from your dear Jocelyne. It is easy to see why you loved her so much. I have heard and read about how much you loved your job and your children. You were a true hero, just like all the other fallen officers. I know that you've become good friends with Josh....that makes me happy.

Jocelyne,
You are an inspiration to me and so many others. I pray for you daily. Keep staying strong.

Love & prayers,
Kelly

Kelly Gillain
Josh's Kelly

March 25, 2005

Hey Dennis,

Guess who? I know I haven’t written to you a lot lately, but you have been on my mind A LOT, especially the last couple of weeks. We had four RCMP officers gunned down up here a couple of weeks ago. As I saw the stories of their lives lost and the faces of their grieving loved ones plastered across the news I couldn’t help but be reminded of the day horrible day you were taken from all of us. Even though it’s been just over two years (807 days and counting), I have not forgotten that day. I don’t know that I ever will. How do you forget a day that changed the course of your life forever? My heart goes out to families of those four RCMP officers and to the families of all the fallen officers that have gone before and after you. I hope someday they will be able to find some sort of peace in their lives and use the love of their lost loved ones as strength to move forward in life. I am certain you have joined up with the fallen officers up there and together are keeping watch over all of us down here.

Today is officially the first day of spring here. Snow is melting. The sun is shining. I took Princess & Benji out for a walk about an hour ago. As we walked, I wished you were there walking along side us able to see all the beauty of spring. I know you were there in spirit, but it would have been so nice to be able to have held your hand as we walked, to see your smile, and to share the beauty of the day together. We never really had a lot of time to do that while you were here on Earth. We were always either a thousand miles apart or too busy trying to build lives for ourselves. But the times we did “stop to smell the roses” were amazing and they are memories I will carry with me always.

You know Dennis, the night you died it was hard to see myself being able to enjoy life anymore. For three years you WERE my everything. I honestly felt like a piece of me died with you that night you were taken from all of us. For a long time, I prayed that God would take the rest of me because I didn’t know how I was going to live my life without you in it. That’s why I agreed to marry you, not only because I loved you, but because I couldn’t imagine a life without you in it. Now here I am two years later living the “unimaginable”. It hasn’t been an easy journey but I’m doing what I can to try to enjoy life again. I have to admit that I still have days when I wish you were here. I hope you will find a way to give me strength to face this world alone and help me to live life the way it was meant to be lived – without sadness. It’s only been recently that I’ve been able to find/see some “light” in my life again - light in my friendships, my family, and my work.

For the most part, not a lot has changed since I last wrote to you. I guess I’m just learning to appreciate and be grateful for all I do have, instead of being angry and resentful for all I don’t have and have lost. I’m trying to find my place in this world and find out who I really am. A part of me will always be with you, but I realize now that I am more than just your widow. I’m not exactly sure who that someone is yet, but I am working to “find” myself again. I guess mostly, I’ve been working on trying to heal my “spirit” and trying to find “happiness” again. (I know that was always so important to you – that I be “happy”.) In an attempt to “heal” I’ve made contact with a lot of other women in similar circumstances and together we are working to try to create a support system for the non-legal survivors of fallen officers. The circumstances that brought us together are “horrible” but I think together we can help each other find a way to “live” again.

Back in Iowa, things have changed a lot since you left Dennis. There have been marriages, engagements, and divorces; there have been babies born and lives lost; new deputies and city cops … the list goes on. I try to keep up on all the gossip whenever I go down to visit, by stopping by your parent’s house and at the Law Center to check up on everyone. From the sounds of it, Monte & the Chief have done a good job of holding down the fort while you’ve been gone. The Sheriff and the rest of the Law Center family have really made me a part of their families. They are amazing people and I can understand why you loved spending so much time at work. The few times I’ve been down to visit I’ve stayed a few times at Monte’s house. His family’s made me feel at home, though they haven’t made me go out and bale hay or feed cows! : ) (I’m still working on getting a picture of “Sheriff Underpants” to go along with “Deputy Underpants” picture I have of you. LOL)

You’re family has also been really great about including me in things. Last time I was down I spent a few days at your parents place with Blake and Taylor. Your parents seem to be doing well for the most part, but like everyone they are thinking about you a lot. Your pictures and your memory are all over that house. Whenever I look at that recliner in their living room, I can just picture you sitting there reading the paper. It’s hard not to “see” you in them. Your dad and your sister were in the hospital for a short time, but last I heard they were both doing well. Dawn’s been pretty busy working and keeping Jennifer, Morgan, Shelby, and Kelly out of trouble. I’m sure you’ve been helping her to keep a watchful eye over all of them as you have the rest of us.

As I’m sure you know the kids are doing well. They sure are growing up so fast! They change so much ever time I’m down to visit. I really miss being a regular part of their lives, but like you, they are always in my heart. You’ve got some great kids. It’s hard not to love them. I keep all your pictures in my wallet. I showed them to a few people at work and everyone always comment on how beautiful they all are.

Taylor’s birthday was this past week. I called to wish Taylor a Happy 12th Birthday. Taylor quickly reminded me that she was only 11! Sometimes I think she’s 11 going on 16. Did you know she had five boyfriends? : ) I hope you’re keeping a close eye on her and only sending the “good guys” her way.

Blake seems to also be doing well in Ankeny. He’s still the spitting image of you and, like you, he’s got a bunch friends. Though, I sometimes wonder if he’s as interested in school as he is skateboarding and PlayStation2! Last time I talked to Blake, he talked a lot about going down to visit your parents for Spring Break and reconnecting with some of his “old” friends. Even though Blake’s living in a new city, he still hasn’t forgotten where he comes from and who he is. He’s a lot like you that way.

I think of all the kids, Jennifer’s life is changing the most. I guess she’s just at that “age.” She has a new car, a couple of part-time jobs, and a new boyfriend. Last time I talked to her she was pretty excited about going with Shelby to Mexico for a week and just like you, she was pretty nervous about flying! Jennifer graduates this year and will start college in the fall. She’s talked about going into law enforcement in some capacity and I know a lot of people worry about her doing that. I told her last time I saw her that if it was something she wanted to do I’m sure she’d be great at it, as long as she was in it for the right reasons. I remember you telling me that when you first decided to go into law enforcement your family worried about your choice too. You told me that you had a conversation with your sister Diane and she told you that if it was something you wanted to do you should go for it. Everyone may worry about your safety, etc. but she told you that they would still support you in whatever you chose to do because they loved you. I remember you telling me that was the best advice you’d gotten and that it really helped you to “chase your dream”. I hope that when Jennifer, Blake, and Taylor find their “dreams” they know that you and everyone who loves them will support them in whatever they in life. And I know, you will be there to keep them safe wherever life’s path leads them. I’m sure they’ll continue to make you proud as they always have. I know they haven’t forgotten you. No one ever will.

Even people who’ve never met you Dennis but that have visited some of the websites dedicated to your memory have commented on what a great guy you were and how they wished they could have gotten to know you. We were all really lucky to have been a part of your life, even for a short time. I really do consider myself blessed to have had the chance to know and to love you. You were an amazing man Dennis McElderry and, I know I’ve said this before, THANK YOU for being a part of my life. I wish we could have had more time, but I’m grateful for the time we shared. I wouldn’t change a thing.

Well Dennis, I’m coming to the end of my letter here and you know how much I hate saying "goodbye". It’s always been hard for me to say goodbye. The first time you came down to visit me it was hard. It was hard for me to say goodbye every time I came down to visit you. It was hard for me to say goodbye at the end of every phone conversation or before you went to work. And it’s been really hard for me to say good bye since you died. So I think what I’ll do, Dennis, instead is let Lionel Richie’s words say “goodbye” for me and I’ll say, “I’ll see you in my dreams, in my heart, and hopefully someday when my chores are done here one Earth I’ll see you on the other side.”

I love you always,

Joss : )

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“GOODBYE”
Lyrics by: Lionel Richie

I wanted you for life
You and me
In the wind
I never thought there come a time
That our story would end
It's hard to understand
But I guess I'll have to try
It's not easy
To say goodbye.

For all the joy we shared
All that time we had to spend
Now if I had one wish
I'd want forever back again
To look into your eyes
And hold you when you cry
It's not easy
To say goodbye

I can remember all those great times we had
There were so many memories, some good some bad
Yes and through it all
Those memories will last
Forever

There's peace in where you are
May be all I need to know
And if I listen to my heart
I'll hear your laughter once more
And so I got to say
I'm just glad you came my way
It's not easy to say
Goodbye

Goodbye

Jocelyne
Dennis' Fiancée

March 21, 2005

Dennis,

You are such a lucky man to have the love of a very beautiful woman. She has been an inspiration and support for a lot of survivors.

Her love for you will endure.

Joss,
It's been a long time. I've just started rolling with the dream about getting s/o's together in a group. It's in yah. I'm hoping this will help a lot of people deal with their grief and all the extra stuff that comes along with an major loss.

I think our fiancee's will be proud of us gathering and helping each other.

I'm sure they're in heaven talking about us just like we are here talking about the wonderful men they are!

Hope to hear from you soon.

Hugs,
Monica
Fiancee Scott Stewart EOW 8-11-02 Detroit

OfficerDownSignificantOthers

February 16, 2005

Jocelyn,

I saw your posting on Josh's page--thank you for your words of encouragement. I am amazed at all of these fallen officer's courage. Your fiance, Dennis, was brave like so many others. I am truly sorry for your loss.

I know how incredibly difficult it is to live without the love of your life every day. Be encouraged to know that you are kept in my thoughts and prayers, along with the other ladies who have lost their loves. Josh was my shining star and the one true love of my life, as I'm sure Dennis was to you. Reflect back on all of your great memories and know that I am here if you ever want to talk. Take care.

God bless,
Kelly

Kelly Gillain
Special Someone to Deputy Sheriff Joshua Blyler E.O.W. 5/2/04

February 7, 2005

Policeman's 23rd Psalm

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want,
His comforting hand reduces fear to naught;
He makes me walk through streets of crime,
But He gives me courage and peace of mind.

He leads me by still waters in the path I trod,
And He says in Romans I'm a "minister of God,"
He leads me in righteousness as He restores my soul,
For His name's sake He keeps me whole.

When I walk through death's valley, right up to the door,
I will fear no evil, for He comforts me more;
For Thou art with me every step of the way,
As thy rod and thy staff protect me each day.

He prepares a table, especially for me,
As I work daily among life's enemies;
He gives me authority to uphold the law,
And He anoints my position in the midst of it all.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me,
Each day of my life through eternity;
As I long to hear Him say, "Well done...,"
When I lay down my life, my badge, and my gun.

Author Unknown

January 22, 2005

jocelyn,

i don't know if you remember me or not. we were in the same grief group in washington in may. i never actually met you face-to-face and had a conversation, but my dad said that he had been in contact with you thru e-mail at one point. i just wanted you to know that you have never left my thoughts or prayers since that day when you shared your story. I hope that Dennis and Cole are watching over us both helping us through the difficult times. I don't know when things will get better, but i keep hearing that they will one day. Please don't ever hesitate to send me a message if you need someone to talk to. i would be more than happy to talk with you and hopefully share some of the pain with one another.
Love,
Jessi Garger
~in loving memory of p.o. cole martin e.o.w 4/25/03

Jessi Garger
Fiancee of Officer Cole Martin E.O.W. 4/25/03

January 5, 2005

May you rest in peace officer and may God watch over your family and friends. Thank you for being a hero. My heart breaks for you Joss. I am sorry I do not know you or Dennis. Please Dennis, watch over this kind and gentle heart. (so Sad)...

Leo Spouse
St. Petersburg, FL

December 28, 2004

Dennis, I found this poem posted on another officer's site and I just had to post it on yours. It just seemed so appropriate.

Miss you, love you.

Joss
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
TRUE LOVE NEVER DIES

I cruised the freeways, far and near,
and patrolled the highways long.
I assisted those in need of help,
and tried to right the wrongs.

I knew my job put me at risk,
thus faith came into call;
I never drove without the Lord.
He was with me through it all.

I didn't want to leave you,
but God said that I must go.
So, I held your love inside me,
and let my spirit flow.

Tell my family, and my friends,
that everything's okay;
Up here a deputy uses wings,
to cruise the Great Highway.

Teach my children to be proud,
and to not live life in fear.
Tell them Daddy's still on watch,
and that I am always near.

And you, dear wife, remember, please
that true love never dies.
What lives today, within the heart,
lives on in Paradise.

Author: Janice Winslow Harper

December 26, 2004

Dennis,

I just wanted to let you know I was thinking of you this Christmas. I miss you. I wish you were here to share the holidays with me. I will never forget the last Christmas we shared together. Merry Christmas hon.

Love ya,

Jocelyne

Jocelyne
Dennis' fiancee

December 25, 2004

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM HEAVEN

I see the countless Christmas trees around the world below
With tiny lights, like Heaven's stars, reflecting on the snow
The sight is so spectacular, please wipe away the tear
For I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I hear the many Christmas songs that people hold so dear
But the sounds of music can't compare with the Christmas choir up here.
I have no words to tell you, the joy their voices bring,
For it is beyond description, to hear the angels sing.

I know how much you miss me, I see the pain inside your heart
But I am not so far away, We really aren't apart.
So be happy for me, dear ones, You know I hold you dear.
And be glad I'm spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I sent you each a special gift, from my heavenly home above.
I sent you each a memory of my undying love.
After all, love is a gift more precious than pure gold.
It was always most important in the stories Jesus told.

Please love and keep each other, as my Father said to do.
For I can't count the blessing or love he has for each of you.
So have a Merry Christmas and wipe away that tear.
Remember, I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

(Author: Unknown)

December 25, 2004

Jocelyn,

I read the messages you left for Dennis. He must have been a very lucky guy to receive so much love from a woman. I lost Joey in 1997 and I was very young when it happened. I can tell you that is does get better but you will have to be very strong. My worst year was two years after he died. Don't let anyone tell you when it's time to move on. You go with what you feel in your heart and worry only about what makes you happy. No one will ever understand the pain that comes from losing someone in the line of duty. We all know that people die but to lose someone who was doing there best to make the world a better place makes it harder to deal with. We were just blessed to know Dennis and Joey and have them for the time that we did. I mean how many women can say they have known and loved a hero. If you ever need someone to talk to please send me a message.

Dana Moody Perot
Fiancee of Deputy Joseph (Joey) C. Rodgers eow 4-9-97

December 2, 2004

Dennis,
What a great woman you found in Jocelyn! She really has a heart of gold and I have only spoke on email with her a few times! Keep a careful eye over her as you always do!

Stacy

PS Thanks Joss for the kind words in your last reflection! I'm sure they have met!

November 22, 2004

Dennis,

I've been sitting here, for the last while, struggling to put my feelings into words. There are so many things I wish I could tell you but for some reason the words just aren't flowing the way I want them to. Somehow saying "I love you" and "I miss you" doesn't seem to capture it all. It's so much more than that. The love we shared was so strong, and unlike anything I have ever felt before. The pain I feel in not having you in my life is so intense sometimes. I don’t know how to put it into words. Some days I’m so overjoyed that I had the opportunity to share my life with you and other days it just hurts so much that I can’t share the rest of my life with you. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for the time we shared, I just wish we could have had more time.

Lately, I’ve had a lot of people tell me that I need to “let go of you” and to “move on with my life”. I guess because it’s been a while since you’ve been gone. I’ve tried to take their advice, but it’s easier said than done. I can’t just forget all that you were and all that you brought into my life. It’s been almost two years since I last saw you and I still have as much love for you as I did the first day I fell in love with you. How do I just let go of all that? Someone asked me recently if I ever planned to date if I ever felt like I could fall in love again. I am sure it could happen again, but I can’t help but wonder how can I ever have a relationship again if I’m still in love with you. You were my “soul mate”. Is it even possible to have two “soul mates” in one lifetime? Whoever I end up with (if ever), will have to accept the fact that you will always be a part of my life, even from a distance. I don’t know how many guys would want to share a girl’s heart with someone else, but that’s how it will have to be because a part of my heart will always belong to you. I can’t see that ever changing. I know you would want me to be happy again, even if that meant it had to be with someone else. At this point I am still having a hard time seeing how I can ever be happy again in life, when I know the only time I have ever been truly happy was the time I shared with you. I have had good times before and after you were in my life, but nothing can compare to the three years we shared together. Nothing ever will be able to compare. I guess I just need to stop comparing things eh?

A friend at work teaches classes on communicating with angels and recognizing miracles. She told me that when people die they don’t become angels. She said when people die they become our “spirit guides” and that I now had a spirit guide in you. I couldn’t imagine having a better “spirit guide”. You were always so loving, kind, compassionate, caring, level-headed, responsible, and smart. With you in my life I always knew I’d be safe. When I first lost you, I wondered where I’d be in life and what would happen to me. I now realize that with you watching over me and guiding me from above, I will continue to be safe and that things will always be okay because you are forever with me. I am sure you’ll help point me in the right direction in life, just as I am sure you’ll do the same for the kids and in everyone else’s life you touched. If you can, do me a favour and, keep an eye out for my sister Cheryl for me. I know you didn’t know her well, but she’s been going through some pretty stressful times this last year and I think she could use any help you can give her.

Speaking of looking out for people, if you get a chance up there, keep an eye out for Daniel Starks, Gilbert Androy, Suzi Roberts, Kevin Marshall, Jay Carruth, Scott Stewart, and all the other fallen officers up there. I’ve had contact with a number of people who loved them this past year and they all miss their lost loved ones terribly. Also look out for Herman Cross, John, Derek, and a little boy named Ryan. They weren’t fallen officers but they are still missed just the same by the people who loved them. I’ve probably missed out a few people too, but I am sure if you are watching over me, like I think you are, you’ll know just who to look up. If you run across them tell them that their loved ones say hello and that they love them. When you see your sister Diane again, tell her that everyone down here still misses, loves, and thinks about her too.

Getting back to the whole idea of “letting go”, now that I think about it, I am reminded of a poem given to me recently by another fiancée of a fallen officer. I think it expresses what I’m feeling better than I could ever say it. (Thank you Jessica for giving me “the words”.) This poem was rephrased and based on the book “Saying Olin to Goodbye” by Donald Hackett.

~*~*~*~

SAY DENNIS ...

The time of concern is over. No longer am I asked how I am doing.
Never is the name of my partner mentioned to me. A curtain descends.
The moment has passed. A life slips from frequent recall. There are
exceptions … close and comforting friends, sensitive and loving family.
For most, the drama is over. The spotlight is off. Applause is silent.
But for me, the play will never end. The effects are timeless.
Say Dennis to me.

On the stage of my life, he has been both lead and supporting actor.
Do not tiptoe around the greatest event of my life. Love does not die.
His name is written on my life. The sound of his voice replays within
my mind. You feel he is dead. I feel he is of the dead and still lives.
You say he was my partner. I say he is.
Say Dennis to me and say Dennis again.

It hurts to bury his memory in silence.
What he was in the flesh has now turned to ash.
What he is in spirit, stirs within me always.
He is of my past, but he is part of my present.
He is my hope for the future.
You say not to remind me. How little you understand that I cannot forget.
I would not if I could.
I forgive you, because you cannot know.
I strive not to judge you, for yesterday I was like you.

I do not ask you to walk this road. The ascent is steep and the burden heavy.
I walk it not by choice. I would rather walk it with him in the flesh.
I am what I have to be. What I have lost you cannot feel.
What I have gained you cannot see.
Say Dennis, for he is alive in me.

He and I will meet again, though in many ways we have never parted.
He and his life play light songs on my mind, sunrises and sunsets on my dreams.
He is real and he is shadow. He was and he is.

He is my partner and I love him as I always did.
Say Dennis to me and say Dennis again.

~*~*~*~

Well Dennis, for someone who was having trouble “finding the words” I think I found them! I am so grateful for song lyrics and poetry. They always seem to express things better than I ever could. As the poem above says, Dennis you will forever be my partner in life. No matter where my life takes me you will forever be a part of it. I know that I will never forget you and it goes without saying that I will always love you. Take care of yourself hon and please continue to watch over me and guide me through life as only you can.

Hugs, kisses, and lots of love.

Joss :)

Jocelyne Brar (Winnipeg, MB Canada)
Dennis' fiancee

November 21, 2004

Hi Dennis,

I heard a song not too long ago and part of it just made me think of you. I know you weren't very big on going to church but I know you believed in your own way. I realize you didn't do things specifically for the Lord, but you did do a lot of things for a lot of people, often not expecting anything in return. I am forever amazed at the impact you had on all the lives you touched, including my own. You said when you became a deputy that you did it because you wanted to make a "difference." Well Dennis, you succeeded in making a difference in my life and in all the lives of those you touched. Not just when you became a deputy, but even before that as well. I have heard many stories since you've passed on telling me what a difference you made and I'm always impressed. Your life and your impact on this earth was even more far reaching then I, or even you, could ever imagine. I sure if there is a heaven you are up there being rewarded for the difference you made and all your hard work here on earth. Thank you Dennis, for making a difference and for being a part of my life. You will forever be loved and remembered .

Love ya,

Joss :)

PS: I have lots to fill you in on Dennis. I will write more once I get my thoughts together.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Thank You for Giving to the Lord"
Words and Music By: Ray Boltz

Thank you for giving to the Lord
I am a life that was changed.
Thank you for giving to the Lord
I am so glad you gave.

One by one they came
Far as the eye could see
Each life somehow touched
By your generosity.

Little things that you had done
Sacrifices made.
Unnoticed on the earth
In heaven now proclaimed.

And I know up in heaven
You're not supposed to cry.
But I am almost sure
There were tears in your eyes.

As Jesus took your hand
And you stood before the Lord.
He said, "My child look around you.
Great is your reward."

Thank you for giving to the Lord
I am a life that was changed.
Thank you for giving to the Lord
I am so glad you gave.

Jocelyne Brar (Winnipeg, MB Canada)
Dennis' fiancee

November 18, 2004

We are deeply saddened at Ray's loss.
--------------------------------------
We all recall you gave your best.
You did your job, now you can rest.
Your comrades now can cover your post
as you take your place with the Heavenly Host.

God Bless Our Fallen Brothers & Sisters.
---------------------------------------
Our prayers will be with you, your family, and co-workers!

Ptlm. P.K. Harding
Binghamton (NY) P.D.

November 9, 2004

Dennis -
Joscelyne came for a visit out to Florida this past week and we had so much fun! I really had a chance to get to know her better and we got to share stories about you, and I told her stories about Daniel. We both came to realize that had you and Daniel known eachother you probably would have been great friends! I am convinced that you guys are both up there in Heaven hanging out together!
You must be really proud of Joss. She is wonderful and incrediably strong. I can see why you loved her so much because she is so wonderful! Im sorry that you guys never got to get married, but as I told her; she at least knows that when you died on that fateful night, you died loving her. That is important and even though you guys were not married, it whats in the heart that counts. Keep her strong Dennis, and don't worry she is definatley a friend for life!

Tell Daniel hi for me if you can. :)
Love,
Jessica
Fiancee of Police Officer Dan Starks
Ft Myers FL PD. EOW 10-25-03

PS..Hi Joss!!!!

November 5, 2004

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