MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In a town with historic ties to people working in corrections, Stillwater residents are sharing the sadness.
Stillwater Mayor Ted Kozlowski stood on the corner of Churchill and Fourth streets Tuesday to pay his final respects to fallen corrections officer Joseph Parise.READ MORE: House Fire In Central Minnesota Displaces Family Of 7
“I think all of us knows somebody that works there,” Kozlowski said. “It really hits close to home. And then for Joe who has a lot of connections to town, it really hits close to home.”
The funeral procession was painted in patriotism. Flags adorned front porches and hung from fire truck booms over the string of mourners passing underneath. There was even a large American flag draped from Stillwater Towing’s long crane rig.
“It pretty much ripped my heart out,” said resident Linda Besk-Turrentine.READ MORE: Flora's Hair Designs, Destroyed During Unrest, Builds Back Bigger Than Before
To those who knew him, Parise was a devoted son, husband and proud father.
“To me, that’s something that is hard for any mother to stand here and see. A lump in the throat is putting it mildly,” Besk-Turrentine said.
Kristen West stood at the corner of Highway 36 and Greeley Street with her 4-year-old son Elliott in her arms. West did not know Parise, but wanted to show respect for his service and sacrifice.
“Corrections officers are putting themselves out there every day, and it is kind of an isolated world they put themselves into,” West said.MORE NEWS: Mayflies Hatch In Downtown St. Paul, In Some Places Blanketing Sidewalks And Roads
As the long slow string of flashing lights passed, hearts gathered at curbsides silently wept. A symbol of the sadness felt for a life given in the line of duty. A young husband and father lost much too soon.