03 July 2013

June 2013 MICHIGAN Kalamazoo - Zapata's Final Rest

Today was a very somber, yet happy, day. It was a community memorial and dedication service for Kalamazoo Public Safety Officer Eric Zapata. Eric served ten years as a PSO and was killed in action on April 18, 2011, at age 35. This occurred while he was assisting another officer under heavy gunfire in the City of Kalamazoo. He was the second police officer killed in Kalamazoo County since 1867. He was a father of three.

The bronze memorial was created by Brent Harris of the Alchemist Foundry. The sculpture is placed near the north end of Kalamazoo Mall (a pedestrian mall in downtown Kalamazoo). It was placed there to ensure we never forget the sacrifice that PSO Zapata gave to his community and to honor all uniformed heroes who serve the public.

The sculpture and the landscaping are positioned in a way to allow the statue to "keep watch" on the City. In essence, PSO Zapata will still be part of the public safety team keeping the downtown area a safe and secure environment for us all.

Kalamazoo Public Safety Chief Jeffrey Hadley spoke at the dedication, as well as Brent Harris (the sculpture) and Eric's mom. She was especially touching in her remarks, but made us all laugh when she said, "Eric always wanted to be taller!" You can see why as she stands next to the bust in a photo below.

Brent also gave her a small replica of the bust to keep in her home. She broke down at that moment, but recovered graciously.

Let us fondly remember and honor Eric Zapata
and his family. 

I did not know Eric personally,

but I walk past this spot almost every day and think of Eric.

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