Church holds "Blue Mass" to honor fallen officers

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Ronnie Gerald's life changed forever nearly one year ago when his son, Officer Matthew Gerald, along with Officer Montrell Jackson and Deputy Brad Garafola, were killed in an ambush attack on Airline Highway.

Ronnie Gerald was at Saint Gerard Catholic Church Sunday morning along with Matthew's brother, Marc Gerald.

"He enjoyed getting up and putting his uniform on," Ronnie Gerald said. "Everything that he did was great to the community. He loved the community. He loved his country."

"Baton Rouge was always in his heart and part of his life, and I think he would want to say 'here I am, an example of trying to put out that love and respect and honor,'" Marc Gerald said.

Saint Gerard Catholic Church hosted a "Blue Mass" Sunday morning.

People were asked to wear blue to recognize the lives lost in last summer's attack, and the sacrifices of all officers.

It was organized by former BRPD Chief Pat Englade, who was at Saint Gerard the morning of the attack.

"A prayer for all law enforcement, first responders, everybody that has to work in this city in times of emergency," Englade said. "So this is what this is about."

Congressman Garret Graves and District Attorney Hillar Moore were also in attendance, along with Sheriff Sid Gautreaux and BRPD Chief Carl Dabadie.

They both say it's been a long, painful year, but one filled with support.

"I cant tell you that there's not a day goes by, that when I'm out in the public, that someone doesn't come up to me and thank me for the job my people are doing or thank me for what I'm doing," Gautreaux said. "And that goes a long way."

"Having a place where we can come together as one and worship under the same roof, as one, really makes the officers feel the support of the community, and feel that they do have support, and that this community is one and it's not divided," Dabadie said.

Tomorrow will mark the one year anniversary of the attack.

Ronnie Gerald says he'll be spending the day with his family, and he hopes everyone takes time to pay tribute.

"I think the people should honor all police officers," Ronnie Gerald said. "They're here to serve and protect us. When Matt became one, it just changed everything for me. Honoring him and all his fellow officers."

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