CENTRAL, LA (WAFB) - Central High School honored the life and legacy of Matthew Gerald, one of three officers killed in July during a deadly attack on law enforcement.
An emotional and touching tribute played out on the field at Wildcats Stadium on Friday, October 7 as the community and the team came together to celebrate Gerald's life.
"We're excited about it," said Central head football coach Sid Edwards. "This is a night about him, his family, his beautiful family and to honor a local hero."
Nearly every inch of the stadium was decked out in blue, including the Power Cat on the 50-yard line, down the smallest of details on the players' helmets. Mayor Jr. Shelton declared the day "Matthew Gerald Day" and said the overwhelming support for the 1994 Central grad just shows what the small, south Louisiana city is all about.
"We are a community that's left abiding and God fearing and he's just one of ours," said Mayor Jr. Shelton. "We're proud of him and we're proud to have this night dedicated to him and to all of his fellow officers."
Perhaps the most touching part of the night came at halftime when Gerald was officially inducted into the Central High School Hall of Fame. Surrounded by family, his wife, Dechia, accepted the honor on his behalf and said the night honoring her late husband is one she will never forget.
"It sends chills down my spine actually. It gives me the goosebumps," Gerald said. "It's amazing. It is absolutely amazing and it means a lot. It really, really does."
Family members of fallen Baton Rouge police officer, Montrell Jackson, also attended the game to support the Gerald family.