TRANQUILLITY, California (KGPE) – Monday was an emotional day at Tranquility High School as a memorial for Fresno County Deputy Sgt. Rod Lucas was unveiled at his Alma mater.
Lucas died tragically in 2016 — accidentally killed by another deputy’s weapon.
The deputy was acquitted just last month.
Lucas’ family attended the ceremony. His wife Jami says this memorial has been two years in the making.
She says thanks to the Tranquillity community and many other donors, his legacy will now live on for current and future students.
Family, friends, and the community joined to pay tribute to the fallen Fresno County Sheriff’s deputy.
“Rod is now forever memorialized with this stone, his leadership, his passion, and his love is right here,” a speaker at the school said.
Lucas grew up in the small town, about 30 miles west of Fresno.
He was not only a deputy but a coach at his former high school and served on the school board.
Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims says he set an example for all.
“He was a real leader. He had an influence on so many lives here at this school, as a coach especially. He lifted the kids up, he encouraged them, he had them go further than even they thought they could go,” Mims said.
Since Lucas’ death in 2016 his family and the Tranquillity community have gone above and beyond to keep his memory alive.
“It’s just an honor that the community where my husband grew up would want to do this for him because they know that he was an amazing man,” Lucas’ wife Jami said.
His legacy will now live on for future generations at Tranquillity High School and the entire community.
The memorial embedded with photos and a poem written by Lucas, with words of encouragement, faith during life’s hardships– his commitment to serve and the person all should strive to be.
“I’m just glad that they’re going to get to see the poem he wrote and hopefully it speaks to them and makes them want to be better people,” Jami expressed.
Overwhelmed with emotion, Jami fought back tears. She says the last few years have been hard.
“Can’t get used to it, we miss him every single day, this is beautiful but I’d give it all back to have him, to have my Rodney back home,” she said.
The school wanted to make sure all the students were included in Monday’s ceremony. So, they streamed the whole ceremony inside all the classrooms for students to watch and learn about Lucas.