35 yr. old Jerome Harrison Seaberry, Sr. had only been on the job as a Lake Charles Police officer for about a year, when he was dispatched to assist another police officer. Slippery road conditions caused his police unit to go off the road and strike a tree. He died, leaving behind his wife Bernadette and two sons, ages 6 and 3. It was Christmas 1995.
"He died doing what he loved and believed in," said his widow Bernadette Seaberry. "He was here to serve and that is exactly what he did. He died serving others. He died while protecting someone else."
Bernadette believes her husband's experience as an Army paratrooper had a lot to do with him wanting to be a police officer.
"That was something that he really wanted to do. Even more, he wanted to be a police officer. I think that serving in the military was a stepping stone to the type of life he wanted to live. And that was to protect and to serve."
Last month, the National Police Officers Memorial honored Jerome Seaberry, Senior, at its annual gala in Washington DC. Senator Willie Mount presented the certificate locally.
"I had to go back and search my soul and ask God "what is this all about? It's been over 15 years." This Christmas it'll be 16 years. Here is his name coming up in the public all over again. What I found is, God telling me that he's not forgotten. That he did not die in vain."
Jerome's two sons are living in the posture of their dad. Jerome, Jr. is in the military, while Michael attends Xavier University.