Sending kids off to school for the very first time is emotional for every parent, but it proved especially difficult for the Scherlen family.
You see, it was the first day of pre-k for 4-year-old Jackson Scherlen. And it was the first time that his dad wouldn’t be there to send him and his siblings off to school. His father and former police officer, Justin Scherlen, passed away two weeks ago after an 11-month battle with injuries sustained from an on-duty motor vehicle accident. He had served as an officer for the Amarillo Police Department since 2004.
On September 8, 2015 he was driving a marked police unit when a Jeep crossed the center lane and struck the patrol vehicle. First responders used the Jaws of Life to remove Scherlen from the car, according to ABC 7.
A police statement confirmed that 39-year-old Scherlen passed away on August 4 while on a family trip in New Mexico. He left a wife and four children behind.
So when the day came for his middle son, Jackson, to start school, the Amarillo Police Department stepped in as his family.
“After losing his police officer dad, he has an army of stand-ins for this important first,” tweeted the Amarillo Independent School District, along with a touching video that has received almost 3k retweets and 4k likes.
“He was shocked when we first showed up and saw everything,” Jackson’s mom, Jessica Scherlen told ABC 7.
The officers walked Jackson into Coronado Elementary School and gave him hugs in turn to wish him luck on his first day, just like his father would have.
“I’d give it all back just to have Justin here with his son,” Officer Daniel Smith told ABC 7. “At least we can be here for him and let Jackson know that he always has someone to call on.”
“I think his daddy would be very proud of how his brothers and sisters have stepped up to be here for his kids,” Jessica said.
Someone pass the tissues. It’s so moving to see how a tight-knit family of officers came together to support one of their own and the family he left behind in the line of duty.More On