Under a bright blue sky, on a perfect fall day, a crowd of some 100 friends, family, law enforcement, and first responders, gathered, Saturday, October 17th, to remember the 29 year-old officer who was passionate about wearing “the badge” and “helping others.”
It seemed only fitting that a memorial garden to honor Officer Tomas LaValley would be formally dedicated in a place where he used to meet with his buddies – the southwest corner of Betty Virginia Park in Shreveport.
While several trees towered overhead, giving shade to the landscaped memorial area, Thomas’ mother, Jackie, along with other family members and friends sat and posed for pictures on the black marble bench, etched with the name LaValley on the front, and 1284 on either end, that would commemorate this bittersweet occasion. Waldron Monument, located at 3801 Shed Road in Bossier City, created the memorial monument.
Just a couple of feet in front of the bench, lay an engraved marble marker, complete with a photo of Thomas and fishing tackle, in a pirogue, with the inscription “In memory of Thomas LaValley 1985-2015.”
Surrounding the garden were several flowers of blue and green, stood a small, newly planted, red bud tree, just behind the bench. Jackie said she was overwhelmed with the outpouring of love & attendance by those who knew Thomas.
LaValley was killed Aug. 5 while responding to a disturbance at a Shreveport residence. Friends Chris Redford and Casey Habich were the key organizers behind Saturday’s event, paid for by donations from the sale of t-shirts adorned with 1284 (LaValley’s badge number) a thin blue line printed across the middle, and his name Thomas LaValley in script, below.
Tom Pace is Talk of the Town publisher and radio host on The Promise 90.7FM.