39 Officers Show Up To Support Daughter of Fallen Officer at Graduation


As spring turns to summer, high school seniors across America prepare to graduate and start a new season of life.

The milestone event comes with a mixed bag of emotions — anticipation and excitement mingled with trepidation over the days to come.

For families that have grappled with the loss of a loved one, graduation may feel bittersweet. While there is much to celebrate, there’s still that nagging wave of sadness that washes over our hearts as we feel the loss surface yet again.

Lauren Rich was just 7 years old when her father was killed in the line of duty in 2007. Lauren was left to navigate life with her mom and two younger brothers, who were only 4 at the time.

Master Trooper Detective Dave Rich was on his way home when he stopped to investigate an abandoned car in Wabash County, Indiana. As he approached the vehicle, the offender shot and killed Rich before turning the shotgun on himself.

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Lauren and her siblings would grow up without their father, knowing he would miss all the biggest events of their lives.

Though Rich is gone, his police family made sure Lauren felt loved and supported on one of the most significant days of a teen’s life.

More than 10 years after Rich’s death, Lauren’s extended police family came together to honor their fallen comrade on a very important day. Thirty-nine of Rich’s colleagues from six police departments showed up at Southwood Junior-Senior High School to support Lauren on her graduation day.

Sgt. Tony Slocum posted a photo of the event and wished Lauren well. “Congrats Lauren, we promise we will never forget your [family’s] sacrifice,” Slocum wrote on Twitter.

Slocum said the officers were honored to stand in for Rich. “Dave was an awesome guy, and he would be proud of the great young lady Lauren has become,” he said.

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The gesture has created a buzz on social media, as people thanked the officers for showing such honor and love to the Rich family. Many left warm, supportive comments, thanking Rich for his sacrifice.

“This is priceless!” commented one Twitter user. “Strong work of the brotherhood!”

The touching photo illustrates the bond between police families who are all too familiar with loss. We wish Lauren all the best in her future endeavors.

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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