Police officer Justin Scherlen passed away earlier this month after sustaining injuries in the line of duty, reports ABC7 Amarillo. Three of his four young children started the new school year this past Monday without their dad to drop them off, but they received a huge surprise upon their arrival.
Nearly two dozen officers — Officer Scherlen's comrades and friends — showed up at the Coronado Elementary School to surprise the children, comfort them, and escort them to class. The youngest of the three, 4-year-old Jackson, hugged every officer who visited. It was his very first day of school ever.
"I'd give it all back just to have Justin here with his son," Officer Daniel Smith told ABC7 Amarillo. "At least we can be here for him and let Jackson know that he always has someone to call on."
The Scherlen family has received much support from the APD; they're what widowed wife Jessica Scherlen called their "second family."
"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."