MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A fallen officer has received a hero’s farewell.

Oak Park Heights corrections officer Joe Parise rushed to help a fellow coworker who was being attacked last week.

Shortly after, Officer Parise himself collapsed from an unknown medical condition. The 37-year-old is now being hailed a hero.

The 300-seat chapel at Fort Snelling was filled to the brim. Officer Joe Parise’s brothers and sisters in law enforcement filled the room — so did his other family.

In the front row sat Joe’s beloved, wife, who is pregnant with their second child.

Joe was a Navy veteran, a giver, a server and a life story that brought even the pastor to tears as he addressed Joe’s family. Prison chaplain and friend Most Rev. Martin Shanahan said, “We will have your back every step of the way.”

The pastor was a friend of Joe. It seemed everyone in this room was, too.

Friend and former officer James Carter gave the eulogy, “Joe loved to have fun. He found humor in every situation and it was that humor that made working in prison bearable.”

Together, they marveled that a man who worked a job that required bravery died displaying his own, “He ran directly into the conflict to help his comrades, made sure everyone was safe and he returned to his post and only then did he succumb to the stress of the event and offer up his life,” said Shanahan.

Carter said to his friend, “Rest easy, we’ve got the watch command.”

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield


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