Heroes live forever.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” ~John 15:13

A year ago I didn’t realize how much our lives would be changed by an amazing man who sacrificed his life protecting us all. December 8th marks the one year anniversary that Deputy Brandon Coates was shot and killed in the line of duty. I’m sure Brandon’s passing has affected many in central Florida…family, friends, co-workers, and even citizens who don’t know Brandon personally. It has certainly impacted my family and changed us forever. With my husband working directly with Brandon and being one of the first on scene Brandon’s life has been held so close in our thoughts this year. I find myself looking upwards thinking of all the ways I’d like to thank Brandon…realizing that could have been my husband’s life that was taken. It has given me a greater appreciation for life and it continues to remind me to never take a single day for granted and to take the time you have to remind those you love just how important they are to you.

And as I have found myself reflecting often this year I recall the outpour of love and support that many extended after I shared photography I had taken during the memorial services I knew I had to do something more to help remember Brandon. If I could urge you to do one thing in your lifetime…it’s to find it in your heart to be present for a military or police funeral. Death is such a sad somber moment in anyone’s life, but there are no words that can truly explain how incredibly special and touching a police and military service is. I spent a little time recently putting together a book of photography of the memorial services that myself and my friend and fellow photographer, Gian Carlo Brand, had taken during the two days of memorial services last year. I know this book won’t necessarily help remove the heartache caused by Brandon’s loss but I pray it helps Jason, Brandon’s wife and family and the many friends and co-workers who love and miss him so much.

To preview the book or purchase your own copy of the book you can go directly to blurb’s web site. It can be previewed digitally online fullscreen. I know many of you may wish to remember the services so I’ve made it available to order the book at cost where the costs listed go directly to the printing costs set by blurb. I’ve set it up so you can view the book right here on my blog (just click below for the fullscreen option).

My prayers go out to all of you who knew Brandon personally. I pray that somehow this little book I’ve created helps you all in remembering a courageous and amazing man who will never be forgotten. Yes, Brandon…you need not worry…we know Heroes live forever.

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December 8, 2011 - 12:29 pm

Barbara Clark - This is an inspired, beautiful, honor-filled, memory-searing collection of images. Thank you so much and God Bless.

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