For Jessica Scherlen it’s a year of firsts.
“It’s a really emotional time,” Scherlen said.
Her son Jackson is starting Pre-K and it’s the first year the kids won’t have their dad there to see them on the big day.
“I’d give it all back just to have Justin here with his son,” said Officer Daniel Smith. “At least we can be here for him and let Jackson know that he always has someone to call on.”
A sea of police officers showed up to walk Jackson into Coronado Elementary to wish him luck and hug him goodbye.
“He was shocked when we first showed up and saw everything,” Scherlen said.
As Scherlen looked at her grown up four-year-old with his dad’s eyes, she said she’d do anything to have him here for the first day.
“I think his daddy would be very proud of how his brothers and sisters have stepped up to be here for his kids,” Scherlen said.
It wasn’t just emotional for the family, spending the afternoon with Justin’s two youngest sons brings back memories of their friend who passed away two weeks ago after complications following an on-duty crash.
“He was always so kind to everyone,” said Carla Burr. “Even this last year when he was in so much pain and not even able to walk on his own sometimes, he would always ask what he could do for you. Constantly checking in on people.”
As for the Scherlen’s, they said this is just one example of the endless love they’ve received from their second family in blue.
“I think Jackson really enjoyed having everyone here,” Scherlen said. “Just to know that he’s still loved by the blue family and that they still care. Emotionally, it’s awesome to see.”