U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner’s Senate floor speech on honoring law enforcement during the holidays:
I come to the floor today to honor our men and women in law enforcement. As Members of Congress and their staffs head home this holiday season, we must remember the sacrifice of those who make our communities safe, those who make our safety possible. Across the United States this year 143 law enforcement officers have paid the ultimate price.
In Colorado we honor 3 fallen officers. Deputy Sheriff Heath McDonald Gumm whose final act was to bravely pursue an armed suspect. We’ll never forget the courage and bravery of his action. Deputy Sheriff Micah Lee Flick who was killed in the line of duty in February of this year after serving in the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office for 11 years.
I’d also like to honor the memory of Sergeant Matthew Moreno who was killed in the line of duty in Los Animas County just last week.
He was responding to reports of domestic violence when his cruiser, and that of another officer, crashed into a civilian vehicle headed in the opposite direction. Unfortunately the occupants of the other vehicle, including a one year old child, also lost their lives.
The pain of losing loved ones this close to the holidays is unimaginable. Sergeant Moreno ends his watch after serving honorably for 5 years, survived by his loving family including his 3 beautiful children: Summer, Morgan, and Jared. He’s been described as being a super hero to his kids, seems very fitting given the bravery that he showed throughout his career.
He is also remembered for his sense of humor, his love for hunting and fishing, something almost all Coloradans can relate to. Our prayers are certainly with the family of Sergeant Moreno and with the families of those in the other vehicle.
I’d also like to offer my sincere condolences to the entire Las Animas County Sheriff’s department who have lost not just a fellow officer but a brother. Each one of the officers we lost this year was a neighbor, a loved family member, an extraordinary Coloradan who gave their life to protect their communities. Although the need is great, so few of us are blessed with the level of bravery and courage shown each and every day by the men and women in law enforcement.
As we all enjoy the warmth of this holiday season, law enforcement officers around the country will stand guard in cold and uncertain streets, this includes the selfless men and women who serve right here in the U.S. Capitol who worked through the holiday to ensure every American visiting the nation’s capital can do so safely.
It’s important that we keep them in our thoughts as we gather with family and friends this holiday season to celebrate. I would also like to take a moment to thank the families of these brave men and women whose sacrifices must not be forgotten. They endure time apart from their loved ones so that families, like millions across this country, will know peace and security during their holiday celebrations.
When thinking about the brave men and women defending that thin blue line, I’m always reminded of the words of Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman who said, “American law enforcement is the loyal and brave sheep dog always standing watch for the wolf that lurks in the dark.”
It’s my hope that the thoughts and prayers we all offer to those wearing the blue uniform will offer them comfort as they carry out this solemn duty. I am thankful for their service and thankful to the families for their continued sacrifice.
Also reminded of the words of Joe Rice, a former state legislator in Colorado that I served with, who during the holiday season, said this prayer, served in Iraq and Afghanistan and wrote how he prays for his fellow soldiers and their safety each and every day, this: “For all those around the world in harm’s way, we pray with you, please God, just not today.”
Each and every day, we echo that same prayer. Thank you to the men and women in blue.