To encourage and fortify relationships between military service members, veterans, their families, their friends, and their Country; to nurture the path of communication for everyone, ensuring that no one is alone or left behind; and proving that we have not, are not, and will never forget the nobility of their sacrifices.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
A Community Morns An Officer, A Marine, A Son-Rob McElrath
The pain was tangible today when approximately 700 people attended the service to honor and celebrate the life of Officer Rob McElrath. A procession of approximately 100 vehicles. State and Federal agencies from all over Northern California and Eastern Nevada were present to honor their brother. The Patriot Guard Riders from several areas held a corridor of flags at the entrance to the Assembly Of God Church. The Susanville Soaring Eagle Blue Star Mother's held flags in support. The procession began at the Lassen County Fairgrounds, down Main Street until it turned left at Weatherlow making its way to the Susanville Assembly Of God Church in Richmond.
Knowing parking and traffic would be difficult I drove straight to the church, but my husband and sons were in town on a Cub Scout event. My husband told me the Cub Scouts saluted everyone in the processional. Due to the amount of support, there was not enough parking at the church. Vehicles turned off their engines parking their vehicles in the closed street. Speakers were placed outside the church in order to accommodate all of the mourners.
The memorial began with the playing of Amazing Grace on bag pipes by a fellow officer. Amazing Grace was followed by the playing of TAPS. Speakers included Sheriff Dean Growdon, Chief of Police Jeff Atkinson, a childhood friend, two of his daughters, his mother, and siblings. Each speaker shared a little bit of the Rob they new and loved. These stories made everyone laugh amongst the tears.
What kind of man was Rob?
He was a Peacemaker. He was kind and polite. He loved his children. He loved his brothers and sisters of law enforcement. He loved being a Scout Sniper and a United States Marine. He loved watching the movie Blazing Saddles with his children.
Several stories of Rob were shared including when he waded through icy Susan River to rescue a dog. Of hearing a report of a foot chase in his neighborhood while off duty, in which he caught the assailant, wearing his patrol shirt, gun belt, boots, and jammie pants. And when he used a riot shield to help protect another officer from a buck who needed freeing because its antlers were caught in a chain, that was wrapped around a telephone poll.
It is clear Rob McElrath left this earth better than he found it. As his friend from 5th grade put it, "Rob is a 2-For, when he meets Saint Peter he will say, Another Marine reporting for duty, and another Officer reporting for patrol."
It is clear Rob will be missed by the Community he served.
The community also hurts for his children during this painful time. Rob is survived by his four children. The oldest two were adopted by Rob from his wife's first marriage.
If you would like to view the previous post on Officer McElrath please go here.
If you would like an update on the circumstances of Rob's murder please read the article from The Sacramento Bee
Here is News Channel 4 coverage: