Last Updated on 08.01.12 Written by John Guarnieri
May His Protecting Wing Be Over You Through All The Storms
Over the last couple of years, I have thought a lot about Pascal J. Hall, a young man I considered a close friend, even though I knew him for a little more than six months. Pascal lost his life in a motorcycle accident, which occured moments after he left our training center. August 31, 2009 was one of the longest days in my young life. Sure, I have been at funerals for close family members, like my Uncle Tommy, and my father's parents, but it was something about the day we spent at St. Patrick's, in Washington, D.C., with Pascal's body, and how we carried his flag draped coffin to the hearse, and slowly sent him on his way home.
I won't forget Pascal's sister breaking down as we got closer to the hearse; the tearful scream she let out as she rushed to the casket and said goodbye to her brother one last time. There were other things too, that I will not forget either. The church was filled with friends, family, and co-workers, many of them paying respect to an Officer that they only knew briefly. There were a couple of people though, that really stood out in my mind. Rachael, my future wife, was there sitting with our class through the ceremony and standing by our side. Two of our firearms instructors from training were also with us, as it was their tearful hugs after the service that they gave us that I wont forget. It was also my first time dealing our Ceremonial Honor Guard, and it was comforting to have them guide us through the whole ceremony.
The ceremony was the best it could have been for Officer Hall, as I am sure he was smiling, looking down at us. As everyone left one by one, however, I had this sense of emptiness fall upon me. I had already come to terms of losing Pascal, but it was seeing his family, his mother especially, that left that feeling inside me, when it hit me that this was going to be 'it', in terms of people knowing who Pascal was as a police officer. Our department did what they had to do to make sure the family was taken care of, but after all the dust was settled, I realized that this would be it. Officer Hall didn't die in the line of duty, so he wasnt entitled to a lot of the recognition that officers recieve when they give their life on duty, and that upset me.
The National Law Enforcement Memorial, in Washington, D.C., is one of the most humbling and somber places you could visit. To see and feel all the names engraved on the granite panels is something that everyone should experience. All these men and women gave their lives in the line of duty, and here their names are immortalized, and rightfully so, for future generations to remember their heroics. Pascal's name wouldnt be engraved here, along with thousands and thousands of other men and women who wore a badge.
All of these questions were running through my head. Is there a group that keeps track of officers who are killed off-duty, like the Officer's Down Memorial page? Is there a memorial for the officer's killed off-duty? Would it matter if they were on the job for a week or twenty years? If the officer is killed in a car accident or commits suicide is there anything set-up to help the families financially? If the officer is killed off-duty, what isn't the family entitled to benefits? I just sat there the weeks after, wondering why it was so hard to help these families and to build a memorial for those that lost their lives off-duty.
I had to do something for the countless officers who lost their lives like Pascal, and for the families who are financially left with a burden. Fallen Blue is something I am very proud of, and honored to be involved with. While we are still young and growing, I look forward to do whatever we can to honor these officers like Pascal and to help their families. There will one day be a physical monument, where the names of those officers will be engraved, and we will help put the officer's children through school. I will do what I can to ensure that Fallen Blue accomplishes all these goals.
While it may have been the last physical day I spent with Pascal, it was the first day we spent starting Fallen Blue. We have some incredible people here at Fallen Blue, starting with none other than my wife, Rachael, our National Spokesperson, Twisted Sister's AJ Pero, and the rest of our Board of Directors, Izvor, John, Scott, and Tyler. We can't do this without your support.
Keep watching over us, Officer Pascal J Hall.