New memorial garden honoring Ascension Parish First Responders

14-year-old Jake Stuntz has been around first responders his entire life.
Published: Oct. 6, 2023 at 4:29 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 6, 2023 at 6:49 PM CDT
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ASCENSION PARISH, La. (WAFB) - 14-year-old Jake Stuntz has been around first responders his entire life.

“My dad has been a firefighter since I was born and I wanted to do something that would not only recognize our fallen heroes but maybe would hit a little closer to home,” said Stuntz.

Stuntz knows the kind of sacrifices they make every time they put on their uniforms.

“They go out every day and not know if they’re going to come home that night because of the job they do and I have a lot of respect for those people that go out there and do that,” said Stuntz.

People like Ascension Parish Fire Chief Eugene Witek and Sheriff’s Deputy Kyle Melancon who both died from COVID-19 complications in 2020, and, “Master Trooper Adam Gauber. End of watch, October 9th, 2021,” said Stuntz.

Gauber was on duty, sitting in his patrol car when he was ambushed and killed. Unveiling their names on the First Responder Memorial Garden is something Sheriff Bobby Webre hopes to never see again.

“Some people you may not know on this one, but I know all of them and most of this community knew these men on this wall and we pray this is the last name we put on this wall,” said Webre.

A wall that Stuntz helped design and build from the ground up.

“I’m really happy that it came out way better than I could’ve ever imagined,” said Stuntz.

With the help of community donations, Stuntz’s memorial now stands as a place of remembrance for those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

“It’s an honor for me as a Sheriff. It’s an honor for us as a Sheriff’s office to be able to provide that place and have such a young man lead the charge on making this happen,” said Webre.

“Just a place to come together and remember they sacrifice their lives for us,” said Stuntz.

The First Responder Memorial Garden is now open for anyone to visit at the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office.

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