TACOMA, Wash. – Mario Woodworth brought his family to pay their respects for fallen Tacoma police officer Jake Gutierrez.
Mario and his 6-year-old daughter, Izabel, bought coffee for officers manning a roadblock for the funeral procession as a simple way to say thank you.
Speaking of police officers in general, Mario said, “There’s a good chance that they might not come home, they might not have Christmas or Thanksgiving with their families."
Mario hopes Izabel remembers the lesson.
“This is totally important. Even if it wasn’t a snow day today, she wasn’t going to school," Woodworth said of Izabel. "She was going to be with me to show our respect."
Izabel said she sees a future in wearing a badge.
Many people braved the rain and cold in Tacoma to join police in honoring Jake Gutierrez.
Hundreds of officers from across the county formed a procession for Gutierrez, with lights flashing all the way from Joint Base Lewis-McChord to the Tacoma Dome.
Dozens of neighbors took time out of their day to also pay respects to a man who gave everything to protect their community.
“I’m here to say thank you and my tribute to them,” said Cole Nagel.
A pair of police officers from the Algona Police Department were also part of the procession.
“It’s about showing respect for the fallen,” said James Schrimpsher. “It’s about showing solidarity and brotherhood with Tacoma in their time of grief. It’s just our way of showing respect.”
“We’re a brotherhood, we all stick together,” said Brian Bard. “We all care about one another even though we might not know each other by name or by face, but we all care about each other.”
Along the procession, people held their hands over their hearts and others saluted the 17-year Tacoma police veteran.
Friday’s procession was a painful reminder for a community in mourning for Gutierrez. Many said they were grateful for dedicated and brave officers like him who risk their lives to serve and protect.
For Woodworth, he said showing up to share his support was the least he could do.
“It’s just a little token of appreciation for what they do every day,” said Woodworth.