MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Joe Parise was a 37-year-old corrections officer at Oak Park Heights when he lost his life in the line of duty one year ago this week. He was running to help protect a fellow guard when he died from what was labeled a medical emergency.
Parise’s wife and parents took a seat once again at a service honoring the fallen officer’s life on Tuesday. But unlike a funeral, this ceremony was less about the past and more about the future, and how forever forward he will be honored with a bench, a monument, a road sign.READ MORE: MDH: Salmonella Outbreak Linked To Salame Sticks Sold At Trader Joe's
“We are never gonna forget Joe Parise. I think it means everyone coming and going will know his name and remember it and remember why because Joe was a hero and that’s gonna mean everything to Joe,” Minnesota Department of Corrections officer Scott Roemer said.
Roemer was a close friend. He stood by the family’s side this year as Joe’s wife gave birth to the son Joe never got to meet, Joe Jr.
“Being a friend of the family, and Joe being a part of who I am, I’m very happy that they named him after Joe,” Roemer said.READ MORE: Campus Alert: Person Robbed Near West Bank By Suspect With Screwdriver
Dozens gathered outside the place where Parise dedicated, and lost, his life.
“Joe truly understood the meaning of the words duty, honor, service above self,” Minnesota Department of Corrections Sgt. Amy Winkel said.
The ceremony was also a reminder of how dangerous service of this kind can be. WCCO’s Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield asked the state commissioner if safety has improved.
“We have seen a down-tick. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen but we’ve seen a down-tick on violence against staff, which was really an important consideration going forward and I think it’s a testament to the work these officers are doing,” Commissioner Paul Schnell said.MORE NEWS: Metro Transit Cutting Down Scheduled Light-Rail Trips Due To Lack Of Drivers
The commissioner believes safety will improve in prison if they hire more officers, so they are hoping more people will answer the call just like Parise did.