Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Officer James Lewis Memorial Service
May 5, 2004
We gather this morning in deep grief and somber gratitude. To mourn the loss of a cherished friend and dedicated police officer, James G. Lewis. But we also gather today to give thanks for all that he accomplished and gave us.
On behalf of our entire state, Mona and I extend our heartfelt sympathies to Officer Lewis’ wife Toy and his son Nicholas, and to the rest of his family, his many friends and his countless colleagues. Our hearts and prayers go out to you in this time of loss and sorrow.
As we mourn this tragic loss, we take solace in the knowledge that Jim Lewis leaves a profoundly rich legacy. A legacy of honor, service, sacrifice and love. A legacy of devotion to his family, loyalty to his friends and passion for the outdoors. Jim touched and influenced so many, many lives.
Officer Lewis lived to protect, to serve, and, if need be, to sacrifice. He was a leader and role model—in the Marines, on the Tacoma Police Force, on search and rescue missions, in the community, and in life.
Jim gave his life in the line of duty protecting his community. He was rushing to back up a fellow officer on a high-risk traffic stop. He lived those final moments the way he lived his entire life: A good man doing the right thing. Whether as a police officer, community volunteer, mountain climber or cyclist, he gave it his all.
His death is a grim and heartbreaking reminder that while our men and women in uniform keep us safe, they face constant danger in many forms, every single day. A reminder that there is no such thing as a “routine” traffic stop, a “routine” patrol or a “routine” backup call.
Our men and women in public safety—police officers and firefighters—are always there when we need help. They are always there for us, looking after us and protecting us.
In over 20 years of public service, I’ve been to too many memorials for fallen police officers and firefighters. I found myself asking: Who is there to protect them, to look after them? Only their colleagues, and a supreme God.
Our communities depend so much on officers like Jim Lewis. So his loss is even harder to bear. We cast our shadows in a colder world without him. Yet the world is a better, safer, more humane place for his time here. And Jim lives on in our memories and in our hearts. A man committed to strong close-knit neighborhoods. An exemplary public servant and protector of his community. A role model who lived what he believed and lived life to the fullest. And most of all a man who loved his wife and son will all his heart. A good man who did the right thing, day in and day out.
Nick, be proud of your dad because we all are. And the greatest comfort and pride that any father can have is knowing that he was loved by his children. Nick, you have given that to your father. He left knowing your love for him and he will always be there with you.
God Bless the soul of Officer James Lewis, and God Bless Toy and Nicholas and the rest of his family. And God Bless the men and women in uniform who serve and protect us each and every day.