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

Our Greatest Fear

Yet once again the Thin Blue Line is diminished,
an officer’s final tour of duty is finished.
"Officer down", it’s our greatest fear,
and once again, I hold back a tear.
They patrol in the state, city, county and town,
in uniforms colored white, green, blue and brown.
The shape of their badges may vary,
but it’s a symbol that they all, proudly carry.
They leave for work with a kiss goodbye,
but some don’t come home, no matter how hard they try.
To uphold the law is the job that they pick,
with such high aspirations, why must some die so quick?
They leave behind loved ones, family and friends,
after their lives have met tragic ends.
Some die in crashes, others hearts not too stout,
too many have been lost when gunshots ring out.
Our Heavenly Father has called them home,
no more these dark streets do they roam.
Through trial and error they have given their best,
please Lord, now grant them eternal rest.
Yet once again the Thin Blue Line is diminished,
an officer’s final tour of duty is finished.
" Officer down", it’s our greatest fear,
and once again I hold back a tear.

October 31, 2004

Dear Deputy McElderry,

I know you are aware of the wonderful words that have gone into making up your reflections. You sure picked a winner in Jocelyn. I check the ODWP daily and she always has a kind word to say for everyone. Someone as wonderful as her would only be attracted to a soulmate that would be able to love and protect his fellow man with all his heart and soul. Keep up your great work from above. We will pray for your loved ones here on earth and ask that you protect and pray for all of us from above. Thank you for your sacrifice. We will meet someday. We love you.

Grandma & Grandpa Hinkle
Parents of a Deputy Sheriff

October 16, 2004

I have meant to leave a reflection so many times, but I have never known what to say... I regret that I did not know you better. I regret that there were not more gatherings and reunions that I attended. I wish I had met Jocelyne, I have heard so much about her that I feel as though I have. I made a link to your memorial on this website shortly after your death. I spent all of 2003 monitoring the many officers who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. To my profound sorrow, yet another familiar name has been added. It is hard to understand why "the good ones" have to go. I should take comfort in the fact that you are up there on our side. Every bullet that is deflected, every boulder that falls moments after a car passes beneath... every near miss that spares a life could be the result of a seasoned officer from above.
Jocelyne, it meant so much to me when I saw that you had left a reflection for my friend Suzi. You are very special, to take the time to try and provide some comfort for those who are where you have been. My thoughts are truly with you and I know that you continue to honor the memory of Dennis. You were fortunate to have had each other, even for a short time. To the rest of the McElderry clan, I wish I knew all of you better, but you will always have my warmest regards.

Anonymous
Former Davis County Resident

September 21, 2004

Hey Dennis,

Just me again. I know I haven’t written in a while but I do think about you often. As Willie Nelson said, “you’re always on my mind.” OMG, I can’t believe I just quoted Willie Nelson. What’s this world coming too? Oh well, I guess it could be worse. I could be quoting our buddy Shawn! :) But seriously, I do think of you quite a bit. I remember once I asked you what you thought about when you rode around at night looking for speeders, since I figured that would get pretty long and boring. You said you thought about me. That you wondered where I was at and what I was doing. Now you can probably see whatever I am doing any time of day. Hopefully you aren’t seeing something you shouldn’t! LOL Just kidding. I just hope whatever you are seeing that it’s all good and that I am making you proud. I spoke to this “medium” last year and she supposedly “connected” with you. I don’t know if she did or not, but she did seem to know a lot of things about you and about us. One of the last things she said to me was that you were proud of me. I asked her what you were proud of for and she said that you were proud of my connection and efforts with the kids. Which was nice because at the time I was very connected to the kids. I still feel connected to them even though I don’t see or hear from them very often. I remember you telling me once that you were proud of me. As usual you were badgering me to come to the Law Center with you. I remember telling you that you were probably just asking me to go along because you wanted to “air me out” since I’d been new to the area and hadn’t gone out much. I also told you that I’d probably just be in the way since you were going over there to “talk shop” anyway. I still remember that conversation because I remember it ending with you saying that you wanted to bring me out there because you were proud of me, because you loved me, and because you wanted me to be involved in that part of your life too. I don’t remember if I ended up going with you to the Law Center that day, but I will tell you, that hearing you say that meant the world to me. I am hoping that as my life moves forward you’ll continue to be proud of me for more than just my connection to the kids.

Losing you Dennis, has made a huge impact on my life - knowing you has made a huge impact on my life. You brought so much into it. You brought love and friendship, kindness and compassion, children and family, humour and hope, safety and security, to name a few things. Now that you are gone I struggle to regain all these things you brought to my life that I lost. I realize that I am relatively young and that someday that I may be able to have all this again but I also know if or when I do it will never quite be the same because I won't be able to share all that with you. I do know that wherever I go and whatever I do in life you will be right there with me, keeping an eye on me as only you can. Which is great, but I have to admit it’s not the same as having you here with me. As far as the journey to move forward without you goes, things are slowly starting to get better. I am working, spending time with friends, and trying to do the things in life that I enjoy. I guess the biggest thing is that I am now able to look back on our time together and smile and not be full of pain and sorrow. That may not seem like a huge accomplishment to you, but believe me it is. It’s taken me along time to get to that point. Don’t get me wrong, I still miss you and wish I could go back to what once was, but I am also able to be thankful for having the three years we did, instead of being upset that “we only got three years”. I have been able to see some of the positive that has come out of this tragedy. Positives like getting to know your children, friends, coworkers, and family on a level I probably wouldn’t have had this tragedy not occurred. We’ve shared conversations we never otherwise would have had. They have now become a part of my family. I’ve also had the opportunity to meet and make friends with a number of people who’ve suffered similar and equally as devastating losses. We’ve been able to support and help each other in our “journeys”. Without many of them I don’t know where I would be today. We are forever connected by our experiences and I am certain many of these people will remain life long friends. I also have learnt a lot from this experience too. I’ve learnt a lot about life and more importantly I’ve learnt a lot about myself. These are lessons and things I probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to learn had I never lost you. I’ve been told people that everything in life happens for a reason. I don’t know if that’s true or not because I can’t imagine any good reason that takes good people away from the people who love and need them the most. I am sure that part of the reason was so that I can have some of these “positives” in my life, but I have to think that if there is a reason there has to be more than that. Maybe some day I’ll be able to better understand this all. Then again, maybe some things we aren’t meant to understand or are beyond comprehension.

I’ve had a lot of compliments on the website I made in your memory (http://inlovingmemoryof.us/DennisMcElderry). People have told me that in reading it they have been able to see the kind of man you really were and not just deputy you were or the way you were killed. I’ve had many people say they felt like they knew you by looking at your photos and reading what was written about you. Many wished they could have had the opportunity to meet you. You were a great man and I was so blessed to have had the opportunity to share those last few years of my life with you. I visit all the websites pretty regularly and am amazed at all the people who continue to remember you. It’s apparent you touched many people’s lives and left footprints in their heart. I know you did in mine.

Speaking of websites, I noticed another Iowa officer was added to the list of fallen officers this year. It's quite disheartening to come here every few days and to see yet another name added and to know that all these families are about to go through, and are going through, the same hurt that your family and I had to go through in losing you. I hope that wherever you are you will welcome these new officers as they join you up there and that together you will look out for all the families who are hurting because they are gone.

Yesterday was the third anniversary of September 11th. I’ve seen a lot of families on the news grieving and remembering their losses. It was hard to watch. I still remember where I was when all that first happened. I was down in Iowa visiting you for the first time. I’d come down to meet your kids, to see what your world was like down there, and to figure out where I wanted this relationship to go. Things ended up going really well and I ended up staying longer than I had planned. I also ended up being there for that fateful day. I remember watching the news that day and just being shocked at what had happened. At the same time I was thankful. Thankful that the attacks didn’t happen in Iowa because if they had I know you would have been right there trying to help people out and to make things safe and if you had, there’s a good chance you wouldn’t be coming home and that I wouldn’t have someone who’d come to mean so much to me in my life anymore. Little did I know that almost 15 months later you’d go off to work and not make it back home like many of those officers and firefighters didn’t on September 11th. I know you weren't killed on September 11th, but now every September 11th, every Police Week, every anniversary of your death, and every day I will remember you and the sacrifice you made that day.

I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on my life as I am sure you can tell by this letter. I guess turning thirty will do that. Yes, I admit I am thirty! I remember when thirty was old. Now I am thirty. I guess htat makes me old! Looking back on my life, I never thought I would have experienced all that I have. I can't help but wonder what my next thirty years hold in store for me. Despite all the hardships there were a lot of good times. I can only hope for thirty more years of “good times”. I hope you will be able to help make that happen for me. I know all you ever wanted was my happiness.

Well … as always, I’ve babbled on too long. I guess it’s time for me to go and find a moment of happiness away from this computer for a while. I promise to write more and to try to keep you updated on what’s been going on in my life, even though I am sure you already know. I hope you will continue to watch over me as always and to help me achieve that level of happiness you so desired for me.

Miss you and love you always,

Joss :)

PS: Thanks for making a part of my life beautiful.

************************************************

Beautiful - Amy Grant & Vince Gill

I'm looking for a way to feel you hold me
Feel your heartbeat just one more time
Reaching back, trying to touch the moment
Each precious minute that you were mine

How do you prepare
When you love someone this way
To let them go a little more each day?

The stars we put in place
The dreams we didn't waste
The sorrows we embraced
The world belonged to you and me
The oceans that we crossed
The innocence we lost
The hurting at the end
I'd go there again
'Cause it was beautiful
It was beautiful

Some days, missing you is overwhelming
When it hits me you're not coming back
And in my darkest hours, I have wondered
Was it worth it for the time we had?

My thoughts get kind of scattered
But one thing I know is true
I blessed the day that I found you

The rules we stepped aside
The fear that we defied
The thrill of the ride
The fire in our hearts that burned
The oceans that we crossed
The innocence we lost
The hurting at the end
I'd go there again
'Cause it was beautiful
It was beautiful

Jocelyne Brar
Dennis' fiancee

September 12, 2004

Pride Integrity and Guts

Some of you may know my face, but not my name. Most of you have seen me around the city and some have even met me, but not always under the best of circumstances. Some of you have even spoken to me on the phone, when you called me while I was working.

Most of you have an opinion on how my job should be done, but would never take my job if it was the last one on earth. And some of you who don't even know me, hate me because of my job. But when I go to my job, I go to make a difference and so I can fight what everyone else fears.

When most would be running away from danger, my job requires me to run towards it. I do this in the hopes of making a difference for someone else I don't even know. Most people say I make too much money, because my pay is published in the newspaper. But don't think twice about hearing about another sports player sign a 20 million dollar contract for 6 months a year of playing a "game."

Since my job's base pay isn't the best I must work extra to pay the bills. Including working extra shifts on holidays and picking up side work on my days off. Most still complain thinking I am greedy, but don't they realize that I to must pay taxes, have a mortgage car payments and kids to put through college as well? Don't they understand that I am not paid for what I do, but for what I am willing to do for them? After all how can you properly compensate someone to risk their own life and face danger everyday they go to work?

And when I go to work I am punched, kicked, spit on and called every name in the book for doing my job. And every night I leave my house to go to work I realize I may not come back home in the morning. Because when I go to work I can be stabbed, shot, drown, fall, be electrocuted, or die in a car accident rushing to help you.

My job also requires me to carry special "tools" to help me do my job. Sometimes even while doing my job I have to defend myself from someone attacking me. Although, the newspapers will report to you that I "beat someone down", and not that I defended myself from an attack.

While at work I must also carry a gun to protect you, but should I have to use it, the media reports to you that I "gunned someone down" or that I "shot and killed" somebody, and not that I defended myself. Don't they realize that I shoot to live and never to kill?

Also when I go to work I wrap a protective vest around me to help keep me safe through my shift. I use this vest so that I will be allowed to live to the end of my work day. And hope and pray that should something bad happen that this vest helps keep me alive so that I will be allowed to see my children grow.

When I go to my job, I will see more pain, sorrow, agony, death and destruction in one month than most of you will see in an entire lifetime.

And to the ones who don't know me, I unforunetly will meet most of you at the worst times in your life.

You often will call me to come help you out with a problem. But if you have a really big problem you can get me at a special 3 digit number and me and my coworkers will race to your house, just to help you no questions asked. All you have to do is call and we will be there for you, no matter what time, day, night or holiday, rain shine or blizzard.

Sometimes my job also requires me to deliver lectures, babies, and even bad news. I am also the one required to ring your doorbell in the middle of the night, swallow hard and advise you that a loved one will not be coming home tonight, then I spend the rest of my shift wondering why I ever took such a job.

Some people even refer to me as a "pig," but when I hear that word called to me or one of my coworkers I think of Pride, Integrity and Guts, which everyone in my profession needs to do this job.

Me and my coworkers must be able to have muscles of steel, have a sense of humor and put ourselves into dangerous situations and face danger head on all in a days work.

We must act in a second and make a decision in the blink of an eye, and spend the rest of our life hoping we made the right choice in that split second. If not we can be arrested and charged with breaking a law, be sued for violating someone's rights, or end up with even a worse fate.

My job requires me to take an oath to be their and to risk my life to protect you. And it is an oath that me and my fellow coworkers have taken and is one that we will not break.

What, you ask is my job, I am your local police officer. And what do I ask in return of doing all this and risking my life for you, nothing at all because it is my job and my hope, of being the one who makes the difference.

---------------------------------

Deputy McElderry,

After reading your reflections I was reminded of this story I read somewhere. Thank you for for all your work in law enforcement. Thank you for having "pride, guts, and integrity". Rest in peace knowing you made a difference in this life.

August 15, 2004

Deputy McElderry, thank you for the ultimate sacrafice. May you rest in peace and send your love to Jocelyne.

Jocelyne, I have read most of the reflections throughout this ODMP site and I think he would want you to go back in to teaching and 'make that diffrence'. It seems as though Dennis was the kind of man who always lived to make a diffrence and what a great way to carry on that legacy. Throw yourself into it and let the kids be part of your therapy.....teaching is so rewarding and could really help you find your place now. I truly think that Dennis would want you to teach and continue to make the diffrence in lives, just as he did here on earth!

July 7, 2004

I have just recently been introduced to this web page, but offer my sincere prayers to the family of Deputy McElderry. I was so moved by the reflections left for Deputy McElderry, I sat in tears as I read them. Although I never personally knew Deputy McElderry after reading the reflections left by Jocelyne I feel as if I had served beside him. God Speed Brother you will not be forgotten, reast easy and walk a beat in heavens streets. To Jocelyne and the kids, stay strong and know he is there with you always

Deputy Sheriff
Rockwall County Sheriff's Office, Rockwall Texas

July 3, 2004

Hey Dennis,

It’s me again! I haven’t been posting here a lot but I’ve still been thinking about you. It’s hard not to sometimes. I still have tons of pictures, mementos, and memories that I surround myself with. Looking at them helps to remind me of happier times. The other day I found a video clip I’d made of you a few months before you passed away. Watching it took my breath away. Your smile, your laugh, it was just like you were here, like you’d never left. It’s hard to believe how much has changed since that video was taken almost two years ago. Now you’re not here, I have a different home, the kids have different homes, even the dog has a different home. The only thing that hasn’t changed is the love I have for you. That will never change.

I don’t know if you have Internet access up there, but I hope that somehow you are able to get all the messages I, and the rest of your loved ones, send you online. Reading this memorial page and others like it I can see just how many people love and miss you. I created a memorial website on Valentine’s Day this year so that people can continue to remember you. It seems like there are a lot of websites and people that tend to focus on how you died and your work as a deputy. To me you were so much more than that. My hope is that in visiting the new site people will know the MAN that you were, not just the deputy. I want people to understand the love we shared because I don’t think that people really ever did. You were the only one who ever had my heart and you were amazing. I guess I just wanted people to see just how amazing. I hope I have done your memory justice in creating the site. I have put a lot of work into it. I know how hard it is to put someone’s life into a few words.

Last month, I had the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. for National Police Week to see your name added to the memorial wall for fallen officers. Dave, Monte, and Shawn also made the trip. Even Betty Swaim was there! It was a long way for all of us to go, but we were there for a good reason. We were there for you to honour you, the other officers who “fell” last year, and the officers who continue to serve and protect us everyday. It was quite a week. The number of police officers, survivors, and private citizens who banded together to remember you and your fallen brothers and sisters was amazing. I really think you would have been impressed Dennis. I could just imagine you out there running around with your video camera trying to take it all in, instead Monte & Dave took it upon themselves to capture it all on video. We attended a number of events that week including one in which the President spoke. During that ceremony, Shawn got to stand on stage and represent law enforcement in Iowa and Monte & Dave were presented the flag that flew over the Capitol building that day because they represented the first agency that had suffered a loss in 2003. The guys did a really nice job representing Iowa, the department, and you. I think you would have been proud of them despite some of the little mishaps they seemed to get themselves into. I accepted a medal of sacrifice on your behalf. I was proud to go up there and represent you. You were a good man and your sacrifice should be remembered but as I told the guys, it was kind of disheartening too. It was upsetting to know that you, and all those other officers, had to die in order for people to value and honour your lives. It shouldn’t have had to be that way. I met so many people during the week in similar circumstances to my own and it was sad to know that other people were going through the same hurt that I went through and go through. I went to workshops and heard them speak about their losses, often in tears. I don’t know what my problem is, but I just can’t seem to cry in front of other people. The funeral was really the only time I ever did, other than the day before I moved when I had to say goodbye to the kids, but that’s another story. I’ll tell you at Police Week I felt so many emotions hearing other people’s stories and thinking about my own, but no matter what I did I just couldn’t cry. I guess I’ve just built a wall around myself and it’s very rare that that wall goes down. Anyway, I finally did break down the day the guys left and boy did that come out of left field. I was out there on my own at this luncheon and this grief counselor was speaking about “remembering all the little gifts and I don’t know, everything just sort of hit me all at once. Next thing I knew I was tears, other people around me were in tears, and we were all just holding onto each other for dear life. People asked me if I was okay, and I realized I wasn’t okay. I haven’t been truly okay since the day you left. I have made peace with the fact that you were killed, how you were killed, and that you aren’t coming back, but I still can’t help but miss all that you brought to my life. All those “little gifts” you gave to me that meant so much. I don’t mean Christmas and birthday gifts. I mean all those “little things” … the conversations, the I love yous, the hand holding, the hugs, the knowing you’d be there to support me in whatever I did, all that stuff just gone. I know I still have the memories of that and the knowledge that the love is still there but it’s not the same as having you here. People keep telling me that I am young and that I’ll be able to have that again with someone else. I might have something someday with someone else, but it will never been exactly what I had with you. Which is too bad because what we had was pretty darn good.

I got a chance to go back after Police Week to Iowa and see the kids and to basically revisit the past. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go back and visit at first because I wasn’t sure how it would be. The kids and I hadn’t kept in touch as much as I would have thought we would have and I was worried about it being awkward with them. I also wasn’t sure how I was going to deal with all the memories that I knew I was going to face. But once I got there it didn’t take long for all those nerves to go away. Everyone was really great at making me feel welcome and a part of things, the kids especially. While I was out there I ended up at the house. I don’t know why I went. Something just took me there. The first day I got there it was one of the first places I went. I remember driving up and being reminded of the first time I’d driven out there to visit you. Those were the days. If only we could go back in time. I couldn’t go into the house because no one was around and I didn’t have a key. All I could do was go up to the window and peek in. Boy the tears were flowing then. You’re parents have done some renovating to the house, but for the most part the furniture was the same way I left it. I could just picture you sitting there in the recliner watching a movie, I could see you sitting at your desk balancing your cheque book, I could see you walking from the bedroom to the bathroom ….. I could see you. I’d been waiting and wanting to see you again for so long and then there you were. Just like that. If I’d known everything I was looking at real I would have just jumped right in there but I knew I couldn’t. After a few minutes of memories I walked back to the car and just sat for a while. All I could think was how it wasn’t fair that things ended up this way. We would have shared a nice life together. It might not have been perfect, but it would have been nice. I sat there looking at the house and all I could focus on was that this used to be OUR home. Not just an empty house, but our home – yours, mine, and the kids. I know I never lived there very long but that place was always a home to me. You made it that way. Gosh, it holds so many memories. Now it’s going to be someone else’s home. Someone else is going to create the memories there that we once planned on creating. There is talk about Jennifer moving in there next year when she turns 18. I am not sure how I feel about all that. Yes the house belongs to the kids rightfully, but I know you always wanted the kids to earn things rather than to just be given things and somehow just being given a house because you turn 18 … I guess I am just not sure if that’s how you’d want things to be. I guess the circumstances are different then when we’d envisioned them when we talked about the future way back when, but somehow I am still having a hard time resolving myself on this issue. I am glad it’s not my decision to make. Anyway, if Jennifer or anyone else moves into that house I hope they’ll be responsible with it. I did eventually get to see the renovations that have been done to the house so far. Your mom let myself and Taylor in to look around. It’s really nice in there. I think you’d like it. It’s not exactly the way you’d talked about doing it but it is a big improvement. It’s too bad you couldn’t be around to see the house you built be completed. It’s also too bad you couldn’t complete it yourself. I know you were always really proud of that house and the fact that you were able to build it. I wish …. I guess I just wish things were different.

While I was in Iowa, I got to spend some a fair bit of time time with the kids. They all seem to be doing well. Even though their lives are moving forward I could tell they still thought about you a lot. I am a little saddened that they aren’t all living together as a family with their mom, but I guess things didn’t work out that way. Despite that they seem to be doing okay in their new homes. Jennifer is living with Dawn & Kelly and it seems to be going well for her over there. They’ve done a good job at helping her feel at home from the sounds of it. She’s been able to hold down two jobs and has been pretty responsible about saving money. Last time I saw her she was pretty excited about the possibility of getting a new car. Jennifer’s still got a year of high school left but already she’s thinking about college and the future. I don’t think she’s decided what she wants to be when she “grows up” yet. Jennifer’s growing up really fast and starting to get into a lot of very adult situations even though she is quite young. I hope whatever she ends up doing in life she uses good judgment and makes sounds choices. I hope all the kids do. As far as the other kids go, Blake and Taylor seem to be doing well as well. They are still ornery as ever and full of energy. They’ve moved to Ankeny with Deb & Jim. They are living in a new home, which they seem to be pretty proud of. Blake was more than happy to give Barry and I the grand tour. Their life out there is very different than the life they had back in Davis County. It’s not a bad life, just a very different life. They seem to have done well adjusting to things. Which is great because I was a little worried about how they’d do since they’d never really lived anywhere else but Davis County. Blake is playing baseball and I got to see him play a couple of games. He did pretty well, though his team didn’t win the game I watched. He showed me a few skateboard tricks and things with his bike. I’m not sure how he does them, all I know is I don’t think I could ever do them. Blake has been getting more interested in girls. I wouldn’t be surprised if next time I went down to visit he had a girlfriend! Blake is starting to look more like you too. He has so many of your mannerisms and facial features its’ uncanny. Maybe he always had them and I didn’t notice until after you were gone. I don’t know. Sometimes some of the things he does surprises me sometimes because I keep expecting he’s going to be a lot like you. I have trouble picturing you chasing the girls or doing skateboard tricks, etc. You always seemed so conservative. Maybe that comes with age, who knows. Taylor is doing well too. She sure has gotten taller. I wouldn’t be surprised if she ended up being Deb or Dawn’s height when she’s older. I had the opportunity to have lunch with Taylor at school one day and to see her new school. It’s a huge school, but like always Taylor seems to find a way to make her presence known. She sure seems to have made a lot of friends in a short time. Taylor has been playing soccer in her spare time and she is doing really well with it. I think you’d be pretty proud of her. I know you’d be proud of all your kids. You always were. Even if they weren’t doing things you thought they would be doing. I am sure they will continue to make you proud. I had a chance to spend a little time with your sister’s and your parent’s too. For the most part they seem okay, though I know they miss you just like the rest of us.

Like you would have, when I got to town I made a point to spend time at the Law Center. (that’s spend time not do time! LOL) There have been a lot of changes out there. They’ve gained and lost a few more deputies, city cops, and dispatchers. The ones still there that worked there when you were there still remember you and think about you. All the new people I don’t think have worked there without hearing at least one story about you. Everyone seems to be working hard to continue on without you, though I’ve heard a lot of people say “things would be so much simpler if Dennis were here.” I’ve even had a couple people tell me they wished you hadn’t died that night and that they would have laid down their lives that night if it meant that it would have saved yours. Which is a noble thought but a horrible thought. I can’t imagine anyone else ever having to feel what I’ve felt every single day since the day you left us. I wouldn’t wish that pain on anyone. I know that if anyone had to lay down their life that night you’d rather it be you than any of those other guys. That’s just the kind of person you were. You were all about backing up those guys. I remember one time I tried to convince you to call in sick for work and spend time with me since I was down visiting and hadn’t had a chance to spend a lot of time with you and you said “no, those guys depend on me. I wouldn’t want them to just call in sick when I might need them.” I always knew you loved your job and I was proud of the job you did, but I have to admit I was jealous at times at the time it took away from you being able to spend time with me or to have a personal life. I never would have asked you to quit your job, I just always wished there were more hours in the day.

Anyway, now that I’ve babbled on about my trip long enough. I think I've filled you in on how everyone is doing. I have to say that all in all it was a good trip. It was nice to be back and to see everyone. Someone asked me during my trip if I’d felt like Canada was my “home” now that I’d left Davis County. To be honest with you, I am still not sure if moving back to Canada was the right thing to do, but it was the only thing I knew how to do at the time. Right now I don’t really feel like I have a “home” anymore. I am living with my sister right now and while I am always welcome here I am very conscious of the fact that this isn’t my home. I will always be welcome at my parent’s house, but I know that’s not my home either. I am struggling to find my place in the world now – “my home”. But as of yet, I don’t feel completely at home anywhere right now. Hopefully someday I will. I am trying hard to pick up the pieces of my life and going to give being back here in Winnipeg a chance. I don’t know how things will turn out but I know that no matter what happens but I know I’ll always be welcome in Davis County, even if I am not completely sure I “belong” there.

You’ll never believe this, but in attempting to create this new life for myself I’ve become a dog person! I live with my sister and she has two dogs (Princess & Benji) who had puppies not too long ago. The puppies were so cute and I just fell in love with them. I think you’d be shocked that dogs don’t make me scream at the top of my lungs anymore. Cats and other animals I haven’t gotten used to yet, but now dogs are okay. It’s funny how things change. My friend has a theory that people who don’t like animals probably have never lived with them. I hate to admit it, but he’s probably right.

I started a new job on Monday. I am working at a market research firm doing polls and surveys. It’s interesting work but it’s way different than teaching and it doesn’t pay as much, but at least it’s something. Besides, who knows how it could turn out to be more than I thought. Opportunities lie where you least expect them. Heck I played a game online, not expecting to find anything but a game and I ended up finding you. So I guess anything is possible. A lot of people have been trying to push me back into teaching because its’ a relatively safe job to have, but I am just not ready to get back into it yet. There’s a lot of stress in teaching and I realize that if I am going to be a really good teacher – “one that makes a difference” – I am going to have to work on getting myself together first. I fell into a huge depression after you died and I am only now really starting to come out of it. I realize I lost the last year and a half of my life and now I am doing what I can to get my life back. I have been spending a lot of time lately deciding what’s important in life and I realize that I need to spend some time making myself a priority. Basically, I am trying to figure out where I want to go in life and what will make me happy. Hopefully someday I can achieve that level of happiness you always wanted for me.

Well I just realized how long this note is here. I told you I had a lot to say. A lot has happened since you’ve been gone. Life has gone on without you here but the love we shared will forever remain. There is still so much more to say, but I think what it all comes down to is that I love and miss you. Don’t forget about me as you know I will never forget about you.

Love always,

Joss :)

Jocelyne Brar (Winnipeg, MB Canada)
Dennis' fiancée

June 30, 2004

Hey Dennis,

It's me again! This is just a quick note to wish you a happy birthday (June 19th) and to let you know I was thinking of you. I haven't posted here in a while but not a day goes by when you aren't in my heart and on my mind. You were the only one who ever had my heart. I don't suspect that that will change anytime soon because there will never be another you and I won't settle for anything less than the "amazing" that we had together. Having said that, I have to say that "I love you and I miss you". You will not be forgotten as long as I am around. I am going to cut this message off here. Sorry it's so short. I have so much that I want to tell you, I just need some time to get my thoughts together. I promise I will write soon. I hope you will continue to watch over me and take care of me from above. Happy birthday baby.

Sending you kisses and love,

Joss :)

Jocelyne Brar (Winnipeg, MB Canada)
Dennis' fiancee

June 21, 2004

Jocelyne I know that Deputy McElderry is very proud of you and you should be proud of yourself. You have given me alot of comfort reading this web page. It will be 1 year May 19, 2004 that I lost a very close friend James Mulay.

May 17, 2004

It always saddens me to hear about this kind of tragedy. My prayers are with Dennis's family, friends and cowokers.

Dennis, you've got my partner Up There with you. I know he's in good hands. Rest easy, Bro.

G.C.
(forever remembering M.P.)

Ofc. G.C.
SLCPD

May 4, 2004


Even though I did not know Dennis personally I am a good friend of the family and know how much he meant to all. He died doing what he loved best, Helping and Serving the people of his community.

I am sure that God has a place for him in heaven. Probably still doing what he loved best...Serving mankind...

He will never be forgotten...Along with all the other officers who gave the ultimate sacrafice to make this a better world.

From a brother Canadian Officer..

Bill Kletke
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Canada
(#868 - Winnipeg Police Service)

Constable W. (Bill) Kletke
Winnipeg Police Service

April 20, 2004

Deputy McElderry
Having read many of your reflections, I can tell you were an outstanding individual and law enforcement officer. It is because fine officers like you that make it all worth it putting on the badge every night. God bless you and your family Brother McElderry.

Police officer
Chesterfield County Police Department, VA

April 18, 2004

I stop by this website often after the death of two dear friends with the NCSHP (Troopers Calvin Taylor E.O.W. October 3, 2001 and Anthony Cogdill E.O.W. May 30, 2003).

We all grieve over the lives lost in the line of duty. I hope you can find some comfort knowing that there are countless prayers that go out for your family.

God Bless the men and women who continue to serve their communities in our great Nation.

...Gone, but never Forgotten....

Marti (EMT-Paramedic)
Haywood Co EMS (NC)

April 4, 2004

Jocelyne,

Thank you for leaving such a thoughtful message in André's reflections while you are suffering so much yourself. We really do need to stick together! Your tragedy started just 9 days before mine. Its been a little over a year now. I hope you are doing better. I know André & Dennis are waiting over us. I have read many of your entries in Dennis's reflections and I can see that you truly love him. I understand your loss. I couldn't have been blessed by a better person than André.
I am truly sorry that you have had to endure this loss.

Praying for your comfort and peace,
Lee Ann
Officer André Booker, Henrico, VA EOW 1/12/03

March 31, 2004

To the Davis County Sheriff's Department I wish you the best of any thing because It's still hard for us private citizens to imagine loosing a person like Dennis Esp since I known that the streets there in Bloomfield get really packed in the winter with snow. God Be with you all and my thought s are with those that Dennis left behind even though I never knew Dennis just reading his reflections makes me sad that he won't be here to watch his kids grow up or to see his fiance. God Bless you all

Former Belknap Resident, Davis County, Iowa

Tonya Stephenson
Private Citizen, PA

March 24, 2004

Dennis,

This story was sent to me just before Valentine's Day and it touched my heart. Even though the story isn't about us I know the sentiments this husband expresses for his wife are the same wishes you'd express to me if you could. I hope you know that even if I can't send you roses, I am sending you my love.

Happy Valentine's Day again!

Love ya,

Jocelyne :)

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

THE ROSES

Each year he sent her roses, and the note would always say, I love you even more this year, than last year on this day. My love for you will always grow, with every passing year." She knew that this was the last time that the roses would appear.
She thought he ordered roses in advance before this day. Her loving husband did not know, that he would pass away. He always liked to do things early, way before the time. Then, if he got too busy, everything would work out fine.

She trimmed the stems and placed them in a very special vase. Then, sat the vase beside the portrait of his smiling face. She would sit for hours, In her husband's favorite chair. While staring at his picture, and the roses sitting there. A year went by, as she lived without her mate.

With loneliness and solitude, that had become her fate. Then, the very hour, as on Valentines before, The doorbell rang, and there were roses sitting by her door. She brought the roses in, and then just looked at them in shock. Then, went to get the telephone, to call the florist shop. The owner answered, and she asked him, if he would explain, Why would someone do this to her, causing her such pain?

The owner said "I know your husband passed away, more than a year ago," "I knew you'd call, and you would want to know. The flowers you received today, were paid for in advance. Your husband always planned ahead, he left nothing to chance. There is a standing order, that I have on file down here, And he has paid,well in advance, you'll get them every year. There also is another thing, that I think you should know, He wrote a special little card...he did this years ago. Then, should ever I find out that he's no longer here, that's the card that should be sent to you the following year."

She thanked him and hung up the phone, her tears now flowing hard. Her fingers shaking, as she slowly reached to get the card. Inside the card, she saw that he had written her a note. Then, as she stared in total silence, this is what he wrote...

"Hello my love, I know it's been a year since I've been gone. I hope it hasn't been too hard for you to overcome. I know it must be lonely, and the pain is very real. Or if it was the other way, I know how I would I feel. The love we shared made everything so beautiful in life. I loved you more than words can say, you were the perfect wife. You were my friend and lover, you fulfilled my every need. I know it's only been a year, but please try not to grieve. I want you to be happy, even when you shed your tears. That is why the roses will be sent to you for years. When you get these roses, think of all the happiness, That we had together, and how both of us were blessed. I have always loved you and I know I always will. But, my love, you must go on, you have some living still. Please...try to find happiness, while living out your days. I know it is not easy, but I hope you find some ways. The roses will come every year, and they will only stop, When your door's not answered, when the florist stops to knock. He will come five times that day, in case you have gone out. But after his last visit, he will know without a doubt To take the roses to the place, where I've instructed him and place the roses where we are, together once again."

Sometimes in life, you find a special friend; Someone who changes your life just by being part of it. Someone who makes you laugh until you can't stop; Someone who makes you believe that there really is good in the world. Someone who convinces you that there really is an unlocked door just
waiting for you to open it. This is Forever Friendship. This is the sacred RED ROSE.

May we all be loved so much.

Jocelyne Brar (Winnipeg, MB Canada)
Deputy Sheriff Dennis McElderry's fiancee - EOW (01/01/03)

February 15, 2004

Hi Dennis,

Sorry I haven’t really written you in a while. I have been thinking about you a lot. Everyday in fact, but it seems like every time I try to sit and write I just can’t find the words. I have so many thoughts that sometimes it’s just hard to know where to start. I guess what it all comes down to is that I love you. Even though you are gone and a lot of time has passed, I still love you and think of you. That will never change. We’ve been though so much together in the three short years we were together: distance, the immigration system; custody battles; financial woes; minor illness; teenagers and the stresses of raising children; work related stress; even death and despite all this, the love we shared still remains. Even though you aren’t with me and we are worlds apart, the love will always be there. That will not change, even as time passes on. I hope you will remember me as I continue to remember you.

As you know, I’ve attempted to move on with my life. To try to keep on living, even though that means living without you. It’s been tough, but I know that’s what you would’ve wanted for me. You wouldn’t have wanted my life to end just because yours did. I remember when I first moved out to Iowa to be with you, I told you that if for some reason things didn’t work out between us, that I would be going back home to Canada. My backup plan, I guess you could call it. I remember telling you that you should have a backup plan too and you said you didn’t need one because you knew what you wanted and were getting yourself into. Truthfully, I never thought I needed to have one either but., I didn’t want you to think I was going into all this blindly. I never in a million years would’ve guessed that I’d be making use of that backup plan. But guess what? I had to. I just never thought that I’d have to be using it for the reason I did.

My decision to move back home wasn’t an easy one, and it wasn’t just because things didn’t work out like we planned. I actually stayed a year out there, trying to make things work. But in the end, it wasn’t the same living there without you. Everyplace I went, everyone I ran into, everything I did reminded me of you. Your memory was and still is everywhere. I just couldn’t stay there knowing that all that was left of YOU, and of US, was a bunch of memories. When you were alive, you told me all you wanted was my happiness and I remember you asking me what would make me happy. I took me some time to realize that what made me happy was YOU. Only YOU. With you gone, I just wasn’t happy anymore. You brought me out there to be with you and with you gone my reason for being there was gone. I did try to stay and make a life for myself out there knowing how much you loved that place, but it just wasn’t working for me without you. People begged me to stay and told me they hated to see me go, but Dennis, it was killing me to stay there and it almost killed me to leave there. I couldn’t win, but I knew I couldn‘t stay. I hope you understand and aren’t upset with my decision. All I know is that I need to make a life for myself and staying there was like hanging onto a life that could never be without you in it. I’m still working on building that life. I’m living with my sister right now, looking for a job, and basically just trying to find my place in this world. If you’re watching I hope you will watch over me and guide me in the right direction. Maybe someday I can find happiness again. No matter where I end up in this world, or who I end up sharing my life with, you will always be in my heart. The love we shared, the life we had together, and the people in it will never be forgotten. Dennis, I love you, and whatever happens, you will always be loved and remembered.

Happy Valentine’s Day. I’ll be thinking of you.

Love you,

Jocelyne
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Please Remember
(Lyrics by LeAnn Rimes)

Time, sometimes the time just slips away
And your left with yesterday
Left with the memories
I, I'll always think of you and smile
And be happy for the time
I had you with me
Though we go our separate ways
I won't forget so don't forget
the memories we made

Please remember, please remember
I was there for you
and you were there for me
Please remember, our time together
When time was yours and mine
and we were wild and free
Please remember, please remember me

Goodbye, there's just no sadder word to say
And it's sad to walk away
with just the memories
Who's to know what might have been
We leave behind a life and time
We'll never know again

Please remember, please remember
I was there for you
and you were there for me
And remember, Please remember me

Please remember, please remember
I was there for you
And you were there for me
Please remember, our time together
The time was yours and mine
and we were wild and free
Then remember, please remember me

And how we laughed
and how we smiled
And how this world was yours and mine
and how no dream was out of reach
I stood by you, you stood by me
We took each day and made it shine
We wrote our names across the sky
We ran so fast, we ran so free
And I had you and you had me

Please remember, please remember

Jocelyne Brar (Winnipeg, MB Canada)
Deputy Sheriff Dennis McElderry's fiancee - EOW (01/01/03)

February 15, 2004

May God look over this officer.

Tim Regan
FDNY

February 10, 2004

Dep. McElderry,

You truly are a Hero! All of your brothers in blue could only wish to do the things you have done on a daily basis while ont the job. You have helped so many people and touched so many lives. My prayers are with you and your family and all the memebers of the Davis County Sheriff's Dept. RIP!!

Ofc. B.M. Damon
T/ Manlius PD, NY

January 14, 2004

Jocylene
I just want to let you know that you have been in my thoughts and prayers throughout the last weeks. If the holidays were as lonley to you as they were to me just know that your not feeling this way alone. My heart goes out to you and your family during the one year mark. Its odd because it seems like yesterday that our tradegy's happened but it seems like forever ago that we were the happiest we have ever been. Our one year mark of living in the biggest depressing nightmare is coming up next month and I'm not sure how I can hold it together. Please pray for me as I continue to pray for you during this difficult time of our lives.
Love always---- Sunni

SUNNI THOMAS
JAY CARRUTH'S FIANCEE EOW 2-20-03

January 12, 2004

It’s been just over a year since Dennis has been gone. I still can’t believe it. It seems like forever since I last saw and spoke to him and yet the pain of losing him still hurts just as bad as if it had happened yesterday. As I sit here and type these words I am flooded with memories of him; the good times we shared; and the horrible night his life was taken. I have done a lot of talking about Dennis since he passed. Mostly, I try to share my memories of him in hopes that others will know what a great man he was, how important Dennis was to me, and what a special love we shared.
People have told me that they are amazed at the courage and strength I’ve had to speak publically about our time together. But in my mind my speaking isn’t anything amazing. By continuing to speak about Dennis I am helping to keep his memory alive. Knowing Dennis as well as I did I can attempt to say the things I think he’d want to say if he could. I am able to give Dennis the voice that he no longer has. That’s why I’ve chosen to speak publically and I will continue to do so should the opportunity arise. I just hope I’ve done a good job of speaking on Dennis’ behalf and that I’ve done his memory justice.

Even with all the speaking I’ve done, I’ve never once spoken in detail about the last moments in his life that I shared with Dennis. At first it was too hard to do. I found even just thinking about those moments upset me. Those last days were so full of hope and promise that it upset me to know that many of those promises would forever go unfulfilled. With the one year anniversary of Dennis’ death upon us I can’t help but think about that day.

I still remember that last day like it was yesterday. I will never forget it. It was a Friday. Dennis and I got up like we normally did, first laying in bed and talking for about an hour before actually getting up and getting around. While talking, I remember asking Dennis if he’d had anything he needed to get done that day. Dennis told me he didn’t have anything planned other than having to be at work at five. The kids weren’t with us that day and the cows didn’t need to be checked until the next day so the day was pretty much open. Since we were planning on getting married within the next week I remember suggesting that we go fill out the paperwork for the marriage license. Dennis agreed that that would probably be a good idea. He also thought we should go pick up my ring. (He’d surprised me with a ring for Christmas and it had to get sized.) We were just going to get married at the Courthouse and plan something bigger for later in the summer. I wanted to take a trip but we couldn’t afford to at the time. Eventually we were both ready and we hopped in the truck and headed to Ottumwa to pick up my ring.

When we got to the jewelery store Dennis waited in the truck and I ran in and picked it up. When I got back into the truck Dennis asked me why I wasn’t wearing the ring. I remember telling him that we weren’t married yet and that when we were married I would put it on. Dennis replied with “I bought it for you to wear and that I want you to wear it.” So we comprimised. Since the ring had two peices to it, I put on the engagement band and left the other band in the box. I told
Dennis that when we were married I’d wear the other half. I remember when I put it on Dennis held my hand and looked at it. I remember suggesting taking it off so that he could get a better look at it and he said “no, I want to see how it looks on your finger.” He told me it looked good there. I just remember telling Dennis that it felt weird to be wearing it. I wasn’t used to wearing a lot of jewelery, especially rings, but I knew I’d get used to it eventually. Now I never take it off
because it represents the last gift Dennis ever gave to me and the love that we shared. I have since had the two peices joined together. In my mind I felt like we were married so I might as well look like we had been, even if we never legally got the chance to be.

Anyway, as we drove back to Bloomfield and headed towards the Courthouse we got to talking and I told Dennis that I thought we should start filling in people on our plans to get married, especially the kids. Dennis said that they would find out soon enough. To him it didn’t matter who knew about our plans as long as we knew. I remember making a joke that we should just get married and see how long it took people to figure out that we’d gotten married! We laughed about it and I remember Dennis telling me that everything was printed in the paper in Bloomfield and that it wouldn’t take long before everyone figured it out. He was probably right.

We finally made it to Bloomfield and Dennis pulled into the Law Center. I asked him why we were stopping there and he said that we needed a witness for when we filled out the paperwork for our marriage license, plus he wanted to pick up his paycheque. I just figured someone at the Courthouse could act as a witness for us. I remember telling him that the people there were probably too busy working and that it was around lunch time and most of them probably wouldn’t be around. Dennis disagreed. He told me that he was sure that someone there would be more than happy to act as a witness for us. So I waited in the truck while he went in there to hunt
down a witness. (Being a deputy he was sure he was going to find his man!) After about five minutes he came back out alone. I asked him if he’d found anyone and sure enough he had. Dennis said that he’d found Clayton and that Clayton would meet us down there in a few minutes. I didn’t really know Clayton that well and I kind of wondered what he must be thinking about us doing this. Up until then Dennis hadn’t told anyone he worked with of our plans, though they all suspected it and even teased him about it. I was pretty sure that when Clayton went back to the Law Center the rumour mill would be churning!

After we left the Law Center we headed to the bank. Dennis ran in and deposited his paycheque. It didn’t take him too long to do that and we headed over to the Courthouse. Just as we pulled up we saw Clayton walking over towards us. I remember saying to Dennis that the least we could’ve done was offer him a ride to the Courthouse since we were headed there anyway. I had no idea he was going to walk over. Dennis said “it’s okay he can walk.” Writing that now somehow makes Dennis sound bad, but if you know anything about Bloomfield the Courthouse and the Law Center aren’t too far apart. Anyway, we caught up with Clayton and walked into the Courthouse together. I remember thanking Clayton for doing this on such short notice. He said he was honoured to do it or something along those lines. Just as we walked in Dennis ran into his friend Jeff. It was weird but when I first met Dennis he never spoke of his friends. Always of his job and his kids. At first I thought he didn’t have any friends because I hardly ever heard of them. Anyway, Jeff walked with us to the Recorder’s office. He knew Clayton pretty well too and so all the guys got to talking. I think I must’ve started to get nervous or something because I remember saying to Jeff a number of times that I had no clue who he was even though Dennis had just introduced us. I think I just finally realized that by filling out all this paperwork it was the next step to making our marriage a reality. I had never been married before so this was a big deal to me. So, finally we got to filling out the paperwork for the license. Actually, Dennis and the guys were too busy talking so I filled out most of it and when I’d done my part I finally interrupted the guys so they could do their part. The lady at the desk asked if we knew who would perform the ceremony. I said I didn’t have a clue, but Dennis chimed in with a name. He said he’d already asked Rex. Up until then I had no idea that Dennis really thought about how we were going to get married, he just knew that we would. After that, Dennis wrote a cheque for the application fee and we headed out of the Courthouse. As we walked back to the truck I remember asking Dennis if Jeff was someone we liked or hated. (This was something I’d always asked Dennis after he’d introduced me to someone new.) Dennis said Jeff was a good guy and proceeded to tell me about the time he saved Jeff’s life. That’s when I clued into who Jeff was. Dennis had told me that story quite a few times before, probably because it made him sound good. For some reason when I met Jeff I just couldn’t make the connection between the story and who he was.

Dennis and I then headed for home. It was getting late and he had to get ready for work. I remember suggesting we pick up some groceries but he didn’t think we had enough time. As we drove home we talked about a lot of things. At one point we talked about my driving and I suggested that he pull over so I could practice. Dennis had been teaching me
how to drive his truck since I didn’t know how to drive standard. Just as we passed the Quick Time in Drakesville he pulled over and switched spots. I remember stalling the truck a couple of times before we got going. We both laughed about it. I remember telling him that I didn’t like driving this truck because for some reason I couldn’t do it and that I felt kind of stupid that I couldn’t. He assured me that I could and that in no time I’d be driving all over the place. Anyway, after stalling the truck a few more times and just about missing the driveway we made it home. Dennis seemed happy to be home. Probably because that meant the end of my driving lesson was over! : ) As we walked to the house Dennis took my hand and again he looked at the ring. This time he said it was because he wanted to see what it looked like in the light. He was just so proud that he was able to afford to get me one and he was so happy that what he’d been waiting for for so long (our marriage) was soon to become a reality.

When we got into the house it was about 3:30 pm. Dennis started taking his clothes off because he had to get his uniform on for work soon. I remember asking Dennis if he needed to do anything else before he headed to work and he no. That he just wanted to lay down for a bit before work and asked if I would lay down with him. I told him if we did that we probably wouldn’t ever get up and that he’d be late for work. Dennis hated being late for work. (Now, I wish I would’ve layed down with him!) So we didn’t lay down. He ended up checking his email. Something he hadn’t done in about a month. He got an email from his cousin Craig who he didn’t hear from very often. As he sat and read his email I spotted my digital camera sitting there. I snapped a picture of Dennis sitting there in his underwear reading his email. Then I showed it to him. He laughed at it and then he told me I’d better delete it because he didn’t like how he looked in that picture and he didn't want the kids getting ahold of it. So, reluctantly I did. (I wish I hadn’t because that would’ve been the last picture of Dennis taken alive.) After that, I told Dennis I was going to find something to make for him to eat before he went to work. I hated when he went to work and didn’t have anything to eat because I never knew how long it would be before he would be home. I ended up making him Tuna Helper. Mainly because it was quick, but also because we didn’t get a chance to go shopping and it was about all that we had. Dennis ate while sitting in front of the computer and trying to delete all the junk email he'd gotten.

Eventually Dennis got ready for work. He didn't have to shave and shower because he'd done that before we went out that day. So it didn't take him long to get ready. We sat in the living room and talked for a bit about all kinds of things. I, at some point, told him that I felt kind of bad that I couldn't afford to get him a ring and that he'd gotten me one. He told me that it was okay and that he was just going to wear his old ring from when he was married before. He told me it was still in good shape and that there was no use spending money on a new one. Of course I disagreed. We didn't argue, but I told him that to me a ring was a symbol of the love you share with someone and that that ring was a symbol of something he shared in the past with someone else and that he needed to have one to symbolize his future and what he shared with me. Of course he didn't see it that way and I remembered giving into him and saying that if he felt strongly about it he could wear it but as soon as I could afford to I was going to replace it. That conversation ended with him saying, "I just don't understand you." Looking back I can see his point of view. To him a ring was a symbol that you were taken, not of who took you. To me it meant something else. He just wanted to be able to wear the ring to let everyone know he was no longer available.

After that conversation was over we looked at the time and it was time for him to go. Dennis put his vest and gun belt on and started to gather up the things he needed for work. Then he came up to me and gave me a kiss goodbye like he always did. I gave him one of my patented "smackers" which the kids can tell you all about before I gave him my kiss. I'd forgotten I was wearing the wedding ring and it hurt him a little when I did it. So I apologized and gave him a real kiss. He gave me one of those wet sloppy kisses so I asked him for another one and he was more than happy to oblige me. Then he told me he loved me and I walked him to the door. As we walked to the door he told me that he was going to be late coming home from work because he was going to go running after work. He'd been wanting to go running for a while but everytime he'd forget something so I asked him if he had everything he needed to go running and we found out that he had. Just before he walked out the door he gave me another kiss and I watched him walk to out to his car. A minute or two later he ran his siren for a second like he always did before he pulled out of the driveway. That was the last I ever saw of him.

I never thought that would be the last time I'd see him. Someone once asked me if I would change things if I knew that would be the last time I'd see him. I don't think I would change things, but I'd add things to that day. I'd add more "I love you's". I would just do what I could to make the day as great as possible for him. I was lucky because our day that day was a good one. Dennis was happy and smiling most of the day. We shared some laughs, some good times, and made a lot of memories. I don't have any regrets about that day. I just wish we could've had more days to spend together. I will never forget that day for as long as I live.

For those of you reading this message, I hope it gives you a little more insight into the last days of his life and the time we shared together. I hope you know just how much I still miss Dennis terribly and I will always love him. Thank you Dennis for giving me one last great day full of memories I will cherish forever.

Jocelyne Brar (Drakesville, IA)
Dennis' fiancee

January 7, 2004

Dad I need you to come back so Jocelyne will stop giving me purple nurples, just kinding.Happy New Year. I got alot of stuff for Christmas. I got this bear that you make from Jocelyne.I also got alot of clothes.Today I found out who my teacher is. I can't pronounce it. I also found out I have a locker, but I have to share.Jocelyne says hi and misses you.
I miss you too!!! HELP Jocelyne is about to give me a purple nurple...L.O.L HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hope you are laughing up in heaven!!!!!

Love Ya
Taylor

Anonymous

January 5, 2004

Its been a year since dad passed away and its amazing that people are still leaving reflections for him. This year has been really hard with out him not only for the family but for the law center and community as well. Its hard to think that a year has actually gone by everything has been pretty much routine. We missed him a lot during christmas and thanksgiving but his memory is still there. Thanks for all the support and Dad i miss you tons
love Jenn

Jennifer McElderry

January 5, 2004

Dennis its been a year since i got the call that you had been killed. tonight at work i drove several times by the scene and thought of you every time. We had a heck of a snow tonight and several accidents. You are missed as much now as you were then. There was a really nice turnout today for the dedication of your memorial at the Law Center. It is a very nice one and will catch the eye of everyone as they drive by. Rest Well Job Well Done.

Trooper Douglas E. Rupe
Iowa State Patrol

January 4, 2004

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