November 27, 2014

Elyria
Flurries
30°F
test

Lights honor fallen officer

Colleagues unite in memory of Jason West

AVON — Small candles erected in brown paper bags were dispersed throughout Avon last night to illuminate the loss of one of the community’s own.
The luminaries were a simple gesture to honor Cleveland Heights police Officer Jason West, who died early Saturday after being shot while on duty.
West, 31, grew up in Avon and graduated from Avon High School in 1994. He had worked for the Avon Police Department as a dispatcher before joining the Cleveland Heights Police Department as an officer seven years ago.
 Officers from several police departments — some with
family members, others in uniform — gathered Tuesday in Avon to meet, eat and talk about their fallen comrade.
For many, it was an opportunity to share stories, while for others, it was a chance to let one another know that they would be there if ever needed.
“It reinforces the brotherhood in law enforcement,” Avon police Chief Paul Romond said as truckloads of luminaries were packaged up for delivery. “We truly are a family.”
On Thursday, West’s body will be carried by horse-drawn hearse from Misencik Funeral Home on Detroit Road to St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church on Stoney Ridge Road.
 A team of two Percheron horses will pull the 19th century coach down the mile-long procession route, and segments of Detroit, Stoney Ridge and Kinzel roads will be closed.
The funeral services will be private and open only to family and friends, but residents wishing to show their support are encouraged to line the tree lawns along the procession route to pay their respects, according to Avon police.
Avon Schools canceled classes for students on Thursday out of respect for West’s funeral, and students and faculty have been showing their support by wearing a ribbon of the district’s purple and gold school colors combined with that of police officer blue.
A memorial on display in the commons area of Avon High School depicts West’s number 89 football jersey and a picture of him as an Avon Eagle.
For Teresa Wearsch, who was West’s biology teacher in 1992, the memorial serves as a reminder of the young man who had a knack for bringing a smile into her classroom on a daily basis.
“The picture of his face keeps popping into my mind today,” she said. “Jason was so easy to get along with and so personable. My heart goes out to his family.”
Cleveland Heights also has plans to co-sponsor a vigil in memory of West at 8 p.m. today at the flagpole at Cleveland Heights City Hall.
Contact Stephen Szucs at 329-7129 or sszucs@chroniclet.com.