On Monday, March 7, 2016 a Funeral Mass for Virginia Police Officer Ashley Guindon at Sacred Heart Church in Springfield. Officer Guindon, who was born near Springfield, lost her life in the line of duty in Prince William County, VA. The tragedy occurred during her first week on the job.
The Salvation Army was asked by Spirit of Springfield and the Springfield Police Department to provide refreshment for the police officers attending and honoring their fallen comrade.
With thousands of officers from several states expected to attend the funeral mass, a volunteer team set up the Emergency Disaster Services canteen. The truck and the team prepared in much the same way they do to serve survivors and first responders at fires and natural disasters.
We are extremely grateful for the support provided by several local businesses. The main bakery of Dunkin Donuts in Springfield provided 500 cups of coffee and 500 donuts. Costco in West Springfield donated bottled water and bakery items. CJ Towing provided bottled ice tea and bottled Vitamin Water which they delivered to the feeding site.
“The honor guard formed in front of the church on Chestnut St and remained in place for close to 9o minutes awaiting the motorcade and entrance into the church,” reported Major John Ferreira, Commanding Officer of our Springfield Corps Community Center. “The weather was chilly with a strong gusting wind for the duration of the time the officers were in place. During the service we served hundreds of police officers who were hungry and chilly.” Ferreira went on to say that virtually every officer expressed gratitude for this small gesture. Officers came from as far away as Colorado. A common response was “Thanks for setting this up for us.”
Poignantly, Ferreira shared:
I observed a familiar atmosphere among the police officers when something like this occurs. They are asked to do an impossible job in which their mistakes are minutely reviewed and criticized, but their sacrifices are often not given the same attention. When they inevitably show up to support the sacrifice of one of their own as they did yesterday, and are offered something so simple as a coffee and a donut, they are visibly and quietly appreciative.
Leftover perishables were distributed to clients of our food pantry. Leftover beverages will be used for future feeding on the canteen.
The personnel involved were Jean Cleveland, Keith Barrow and Anthony Falvo. Sgt. Brian Elliott made our mobilization easy to accomplish and we experienced the support of the Springfield Police at each step.
Information and photos provided by Major John Ferreira, Commanding Officer of our Springfield Corps Community Center