Emergencies: 911
 
 
 
 

fdle




links
Back to News List  
 March 5th, 2013  
Here in its entirety is the eulogy delivered by St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken J. Mascara at the Monday funeral of Sgt. Gary Morales, 1977 - 2013, who died in the line of duty Feb. 28
 
Note: The funeral was at Westside Baptist Church, Fort Pierce

= = =

GOOD AFTERNOON,

TO THE MORALES FAMILY, MR. AND MRS. MORALES, BRAD, KEN, BRIAN, HOLLY, BROOKLYNN AND JORDAN, ON BEHALF OF MYSELF, OUR SHERIFF’S OFFICE FAMILY, AND OUR COMMUNITY, I EXTEND OUR DEEPEST SYMPATHIES TO YOU. EVEN THOUGH OUR SHERIFF’S OFFICE FAMILY HAS ALSO SUFFERED THE LOSS OF GARY, WE CANNOT IMAGINE YOUR PAIN. HOWEVER, WE ARE ALL HERE TODAY, AND FOREVER, TO HELP YOU IN ANY WAY WE CAN. 

THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE AND I HAVE RECEIVED THOUSANDS OF EMAILS, TEXTS AND PHONE CALLS FROM ACROSS OUR COUNTRY EXTENDING SYMPATHY TO ALL OF YOU AND ALL OF US.  

TODAY, IN ATTENDANCE WE HAVE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS FROM AS FAR AWAY AS CHICAGO, ILLINOIS AND KENNEBUNK, MAINE AND AS CLOSE AS FORT PIERCE AND PORT ST. LUCIE. WE HAVE SHERIFFS AND GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS ARE HERE FROM ACROSS OUR STATE, INCLUDING OUR GOVERNOR, THE HONORABLE RICK SCOTT AND OUR ATTORNEY GENERAL, THE HONORABLE PAM BONDI.

WE ARE ALL HERE TO PAY OUR RESPECTS TO GARY DURING OUR DARKEST HOUR. TODAY IN ST. LUCIE COUNTY IT IS THE COLDEST DAY OF THE YEAR, BUT IT DOES NOT MATTER HOW COLD IT IS, BECAUSE WE HAVE BEEN WARMED BY THE COMFORT SHOWN TO US BY OUR COMMUNITY, OUR BROTHER LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS, AND TOTAL STRANGERS NEAR AND FAR. 
THIS GREAT OUTPOURING OF SUPPORT AND COMFORT DURING SUCH LOSSES IS NOT UNIQUE.

IT HAPPENED FOURTEEN YEARS AGO YESTERDAY, WHEN THE ST. LUCIE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE TRAGICALLY LOST MASTER DEPUTY STEVE ROBERTS.

AND IT HAPPENED ONE YEAR AGO TODAY, WHEN THE ST. LUCIE COUNTY FIRE DISTRICT TRAGICALLY LOST LT. MARK MORRISON.

FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART I WANT TO EXPRESS MY SINCERE APPRECIATION TO ALL WHO HAVE SUPPORTED US THROUGH THESE TRAGEDIES, THEN AND NOW.

WE HAVE INDIVIDUALLY AND COLLECTIVELY CRIED ALL  WE CAN THE PAST THREE DAYS.  I WANT TODAY TO BE A CELEBRATION OF GARY’S LIFE, AND WHAT BETTER WAY THAN BY LOOKING AT THE PICTURE BEFORE YOU AND REALIZING THAT IS THE WAY HE APPROACHED LIFE EVERY DAY, WITH A BIG SMILE.

GARY MORALES, AFFECTIONATELY CALLED FOO BY CLOSE FRIENDS, WAS BORN JULY 13, 1977, IN THE BRONX, NEW YORK. IN JUNE 1995, HE GRADUATED FROM BELLPORT HIGH SCHOOL IN BROOKHAVEN, NEW YORK.
 
HE JOINED THE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE IN 1995 AND WAS STATIONED IN SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS. HE SERVED IN PANAMA FROM 1996 TO 1998 AS A K9 HANDLER, RETURNED TO SAN ANTONIO TEXAS IN THAT YEAR AND WAS HONORABLY DISCHARGED IN 1999.
 
DURING HIS SERVICE TO OUR COUNTRY IN THE AIR FORCE, HE RECEIVED THE AIR FORCE ACHIEVEMENT MEDAL, OUTSTANDING UNIT AWARD, GOOD CONDUCT MEDAL, NATIONAL DEFENSE SERVICE MEDAL, OVERSEAS LONG TOUR LONGEVITY SERVICE AWARD AND AIR FORCE TRAINING RIBBON.
 
GARY MOVED TO ST. LUCIE C OUNTY AND GRADUATED FROM INDIAN RIVER STATE COLLEGE BASIC LAW ENFORCEMENT CLASS #82 ON SEPTEMBER 13, 2000.  HE JOINED THE ST. LUCIE COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE ON OCTOBER 16TH  THAT SAME YEAR.
 
DUE TO HIS YOUTHFUL APPEARANCE AND EXCELLENT INVESTIGATIVE SKILLS, IN 2001 HE POSED UNDERCOVER AS A HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT AT, NOT ONE, BUT TWO AREA HIGH SCHOOLS IN “OPERATION SAFE KID”. HIS EFFORTS ENABLED THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE TO MAKE 21 ARRESTS ON 73 CHARGES RANGING FROM DRUG VIOLATIONS TO THE REMOVAL OF SERIAL NUMBERS FROM A FIREARM. EVEN TODAY THIS OPERATION IS BEING TALKED ABOUT IN THOSE HIGH SCHOOLS.
 
DURING HIS TIME WITH THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE HE SERVED IN UNIFORM PATROL, THE SCHOOL RESOURCE UNIT, SWAT, WHERE HE WAS THE TEAM LEADER OF THE SNIPERS, THE SPECIAL INVESTIGATIVE UNIT, THE TRAINING UNIT AND WITH HIS RECENT PROMOTION ON JANUARY 18 TO THE RANK OF SERGEANT, HE RETURNED TO UNIFORM PATROL.
 
GARY EARNED A REPUTATION FOR DECISIVE ACTION DEALING WITH CRIMES IN PROGRESS, INVESTIGATIVE SKILL AND COMPASSION FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME, AS LETTERS OF COMMENDATION IN HIS FILE INDICATE. MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC, BUSINESS OWNERS AND MEMBERS OF TREASURE COAST AND FLORIDA LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES HAVE COMMENDED GARY'S PROFESSIONALISM, TEAMWORK AND DEDICATION.
 
ONE RECENT LETTER THAT I WANT TO SHARE WITH YOU CAME FROM AN 81-YEAR-OLD WOMAN WHO HAD LOCKED HER KEYS AND PURSE IN HER CAR. SHE FLAGGED DOWN A PASSING SHERIFF’S OFFICE PATROL VEHICLE TO FIND OUT SHE WAS LUCKY ENOUGH TO HAVE DEPUTY MORALES BEHIND THE WHEEL. SHE WROTE “HE WAS HAPPY TO HELP ME AND HAD A BIG SMILE AND A BIG HEART. I AM SO GLAD HE WAS THERE”.
 
IN ANOTHER LETTER, A GRANDFATHER EXPRESSED HIS PROFOUND APPRECIATION FOR THE WAY DEPUTY MORALES HANDLED A VERY SENSITIVE MATTER INVOLVING HIS SIX-YEAR-OLD GRANDSON. THE LETTER STATES: "HIS PROFESSIONAL DEMEANOR AND CALMNESS ENABLED HIM TO WIN OVER THE CONFIDENCE OF OUR FAMILY, BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY, THAT OF MY SIX-YEAR-OLD GRANDSON." SO YOU SEE, GARY WAS ABLE TO GAIN THE TRUST OF PEOPLE FROM AGES SIX TO EIGHTY-ONE.  I THINK THAT SMILE HAD A LARGE PART TO DO WITH IT.
 
HIS DEPARTMENTAL HONORS INCLUDE UNIT CITATIONS (FOUR TIMES), EXCEPTIONAL DUTY (THREE TIMES), GOOD CONDUCT AND THE SEPTEMBER 2004 HURRICANE MEDAL.

DURING HIS TENURE WITH THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE, I DON'T KNOW HOW, BUT HE FOUND THE TIME TO GO TO COLLEGE AND EARN A BACHELOR'S DEGREE AND A MASTER'S DEGREE IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE, BOTH FROM KEISER UNIVERSITY.
 
GARY EXCELLED IN ALL OF HIS ASSIGNMENTS. BUT WE ALL KNOW HIS TWO PASSIONS WERE SWAT AND TRAINING.
 
HE WAS A FIREARMS INSTRUCTOR, DEFENSIVE TACTICS INSTRUCTOR, DRIVING INSTRUCTOR, AND FIRST AID AND CPR INSTRUCTOR. HE SET LOFTY GOALS FOR HIMSELF……LETTING MANY KNOW THAT ONE DAY HE INTENDED TO BE THE HEAD OF TRAINING FOR THE ENTIRE AGENCY.

HE SAW THE VALUE OF BRINGING NEW AND INNOVATIVE IDEAS TO TRAIN ALL OF US TO INCREASE OUR SAFETY. HE SPEARHEADED THE IDEA AND WORKED CLOSELY WITH DETECTIVE JOE TREVISOL TO PLACE "AUTOMATED EXTERNAL DEFIBRILLATORS," KNOWN AS "AEDS" FOR SHORT, THROUGHOUT THE AGENCY AND TRAIN US IN HOW TO USE THEM.

GARY AND DETECTIVE TREVISOL MADE A POINT TO BRING FIRST AID KITS TO ALL OF US AND TRAINED US IN HOW TO RENDER FIRST AID IN CASES OF TRAUMATIC INJURIES. HIS ULTIMATE GOAL WAS FOR EACH ONE OF US TO BE SAFE.

HE WORKED ENTHUSIASICALLY TO GET US ALL PHYSICALLY FIT.  THE CROSSFIT CLASS WAS HIS IDEA, AND WHEN HE WOULD SEE ME HE WOULD LOOK AT MY WAIST-LINE AND SAY, "SHERIFF, WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO GET INTO MY CROSSFIT CLASS?"

WE WOULD AGREE THAT GARY POSSESSED ALL THE BEST QUALITIES WE LOOK FOR IN A DEPUTY SHERIFF.

I ALWAYS HOPE MY DEPUTIES CAN MAKE A POSITIVE IMPACT ON THEIR COMMUNITY. GARY WITH THAT INFECTIOUS SMILE WAS LOVED BY EVERYONE HE CAME IN CONTACT WITH AND MADE A PROFOUND IMPACT ON OUR COMMUNITY.

FEW HOWEVER MAKE AN IMPACT ON THEIR AGENCIES. BUT GARY WAS ONE OF THOSE WHO DID…HE WAS COMMITTED TO MAKING THIS AGENCY BETTER AND MAKING US BETTER.

EVERY MEMBER OF THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE WAS TOUCHED BY SOME PHASE OF TRAINING THAT GARY HAD HIS HAND IN.

THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE RECENTLY VISITED OUR GUN RANGE HAVE WITNESSED THE METAMORPHOSIS OF A RANGE INTO A PREMIER TRAINING FACILITY. GARY PLAYED AN INTEGRAL ROLE IN THIS TRANSFORMATION. AS I MENTIONED EARLIER, GARY'S ULTIMATE GOAL WAS TO BE THE LEAD TRAINER OF OUR AGENCY.

AND SO, TODAY I AM NAMING OUR TRAINING FACILITY THE “SGT. GARY MORALES TRAINING COMPLEX”.  I DO SO IN HONOR OF GARY AND IN THE HOPE THAT EVERYONE WHO TRAINS THERE WILL ASPIRE TO HAVE AN IMPACT ON THEIR COMMUNITY, THEIR AGENCY AND THEIR OWN PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT THE WAY GARY DID.  

EVERY SECOND OF EVERY MINUTE OF EVERY HOUR OF EVERY DAY, MEN AND WOMEN WEAR THE UNIFORM AND TAKE THE OATH TO PROTECT AND SERVE.
THE COLOR OF THE UNIFORM DOESN’T MATTER, NOR DOES THE VENUE OF SERVICE, BECAUSE THEY ALL ARE TRUE HEROES WHO PROTECT US FROM EVIL AND FACE DANGER EVERY DAY TO KEEP US SAFE.

WITH GARY’S LOSS, WE HAVE LOST OUR TRUE HERO.

TO THE MORALES FAMILY, THANK YOU FOR SHARING GARY WITH US.

WE ARE SO, SO SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS. IN THE HOURS, DAYS, AND WEEKS AFTER TODAY, GOD IS THERE TO COMFORT YOU.  THE BIBLE SAYS IN PSALM 46, VERSE 1:  GOD IS OUR REFUGE AND STRENGTH, A VERY PRESENT AND WELL-PROVED HELP IN TROUBLE.

I ASK GOD TO BLESS AND WRAP HIS ARMS AROUND EACH ONE OF YOU.

IN ADDITION, I WANT YOU TO KNOW YOUR SHERIFF'S OFFICE FAMILY IS HERE TODAY, AND FOREVER, TO COMFORT AND ASSIST YOU IN ANY WAY WE CAN.

TO BROOKLYNN AND JORDAN, YOUR DADDY LOVED YOU BOTH SO VERY VERY MUCH AND WILL ALWAYS BE WATCHING OVER YOU. MAY GOD BLESS YOU ALL.

March 4, 2013

crime stoppers