Home Features Touching Display of Support: Police Line Sidewalk to Welcome Fallen Officer’s Son on First Day of School

Touching Display of Support: Police Line Sidewalk to Welcome Fallen Officer’s Son on First Day of School

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Heartwarming Scene as Police Line Sidewalk to Welcome Fallen Officer’s Son on His First Day of School

In a touching display of support and remembrance, around two dozen police officers from the Louisville Metro Police Department in Kentucky lined the sidewalk to welcome 5-year-old Riley Cottongim on his very first day of kindergarten. Riley’s father, Officer Zach Cottongim, tragically lost his life in the line of duty two years ago, leaving behind a grieving family.

With smiles and high-fives, the officers created a special moment for Riley as he entered school. “I could just feel Zach. I could feel him standing there with them,” said Jamie Cottongim, Zach’s widow, who also works as a civilian in the LMPD’s records department. “I just felt so close with him in that moment and to see Riley smiling and high-fiving all of them, it was amazing.”

Zach Cottongim’s life was cut short on December 18, 2021, when he was struck by a passing vehicle while inspecting a wrecked vehicle on the side of the road. He was just 29 years old at the time of his death and is survived by his wife Jamie, Riley, and their younger son Alexander, who is now 2 years old.

Jamie shared that the presence of the officers at the school was a surprise for both her and Riley. “He had an amazing day. He told me it was the best day ever,” she said with gratitude. “His teacher also told me that by the time he got to class he had the biggest smile on his face.”

As Riley’s first day of school approached, Jamie couldn’t help but feel emotional, knowing how much Zach would have cherished being there for this milestone moment. However, thanks to the compassion and unity among the officers, a group of officers’ wives made sure to honor Zach’s memory by providing a police presence for Riley on this significant day.

Officer Donna Morgan, who was Zach Cottongim’s partner on the police force for over two years, shared how the squad rallied to make this idea a reality. “The friendships and camaraderie amongst the squad were extremely important to Zach, and so it’s been important to us as a squad to be present for special moments in order to carry on his legacy,” Morgan said. “We really want to ensure his sons always know how much he loved them, and that if he were here, he would be the one that was present for these moments.”

Jamie Cottongim emphasized the strong bond she and her sons share with the police force, considering them as “family.” Officer Donna Morgan, in particular, has become like a sister to her late husband.

Zach Cottongim dedicated his entire career to the Louisville Metro Police Department, serving just over seven years before his untimely passing. His wife fondly remembers him as a passionate and caring officer who always sought to help others. “He was the true definition of what it is to put that badge on and to serve others,” she said.

The heartwarming scene of officers standing in honor of Riley on his first day of school serves as a powerful reminder of the sacrifices made by law enforcement officers and the lasting impact they leave behind. The love and support shown by the LMPD exemplify the strength of their community and the enduring legacy of Officer Zach Cottongim.

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