Campus News

Bethel hosts services for fallen officer

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Cpl. Szuba and his K-9 partner Ricky were honored at a memorial service by family, friends, comrades and the community. (Photo taken by Yon Moya)
It was a brisk January afternoon. Thousands stood along Mishawaka streets to show their support and respect. More than 400 police and emergency vehicles from around Indiana formed a procession through the Bethel College campus and then through the streets of Mishawaka. This scene followed the memorial service for Mishawaka police officer James Szuba, held in the Everest-Rohrer Chapel on Jan. 15. Bethel hosted the memorial because of the amount of people and police cars expected at the event. Szuba was killed in the line of duty along with his K-9, Ricky, after his car was struck by a drunk driver on the evening of Jan. 8. According to police records, another officer was attempting to pull over a speeding car and asked for back-up. Szuba responded; his vehicle was hit at the intersection of McKinley and Fir. Bethel’s campus was needed in order to accommodate the needs for the large memorial service. The day before the service, staff cleared the roads and sidewalks to make the campus accessible. Students and staff were asked to move their cars from the main parking lots in order to make room for the hundreds of police cars that were going to be in the procession. Among the many lining Mishawaka streets to show their support were Bethel students, faculty and staff. They stood along Bethel’s main road for the beginning of the procession. “I just felt that it was the right thing to do,” said senior Derek Moser. Freshman Georgia Boisse agreed with Moser. She also said she respects Szuba because, “The Bible says there is no greater love than to lay down your life for a friend.” Because of this tragic event, junior Mandy Yoder was reminded of something she heard recently on the news about taking what others do for granted; many do not understand the benefits they get from those people doing good thing. “So, thanks to officers who work so hard to provide us safety and risk their lives everyday they’re on duty, we can enjoy our lives today and in the future,” said Yoder. “And this is why I believe it was so important to show my respect Friday to honor a man who put his life on the line in order to protect us.” Moser said he understands being a police officer is a huge sacrifice for not just the officer but his family. “I felt that was the hardest thing seeing on Friday − seeing the wives and children of the policemen and seeing their faces,” said Moser. “I could tell they were praying that this would not happen to their husband or any other husband.” Sophomore Jordan Robbins thought it was nice that Bethel offered its facility to be used by the Szuba family “and a good way to be the comforting arms of Christ.” This gave everyone a chance to show their respect for an officer lost in the line of duty. “It gave us the opportunity by having the funeral on campus to honor this man and show our appreciation to all officers as well as his family in order to say we appreciate what you do for our community,” said Yoder.
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