I wanted to write today about the community that I live in. I live in the Village of East Rochester, population 6,594. What a village. What a community. What a wonderful place to live.
But what is even more impressive are the people who live here, work here and go to school here. We very recently suffered a very tragic loss. A police officer was shot and killed in the line of duty. Daryl Pierson left behind a wife, 2 kids, a mom and dad, siblings and many other people who loved him. Unfortunately, many people probably didn’t even know that a true hero lived among us until he was taken from us. I can’t imagine the unmeasurable pain that is ripping through his family at this time.
What I do know is that our little community has shown incredible amounts of support and grace through this darkness. Community members stood tall, hand over their hearts and tears in their eyes, along 31F as the funeral procession went by. A high schooler made ribbons for others to wear in support. Other community members decorated the entire village with blue and black bows honoring Officer Pierson. Children wore blue and black to school on the day of his funeral.
The most impressive sight was at Edmund Lyon Park and throughout the village that warm Wednesday night. I walked down with a friend and our kids to the village park the night of Officer Pierson’s funeral and was overcome with emotions. The sight was one that could not be adequately described nor captured by photos. Luminaries were outlining the park, and set through the streets of East Rochester. Thousands of Luminaries. Literally, thousands! I had never felt more sorrow and more pride in the same moment as I did that night. The sorrow was of course for the loss of someone that was so loved, and for his family who will never get over such loss but will have to learn to live with a void. The Pride was for the people of this tiny, humble community who came together to offer support with such beauty and grace to strangers. There is truly no other place I would choose to live or raise my children. I am honored to call this village my home and I pray that the Pierson family will find some peace in knowing what an incredible impact Daryl has left on our hearts.