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“Could today be that day? The day I get that phone call or that knock on my door?” These are the questions Toni Gonzales asked each day her husband went to work. It’s a feeling all family members of those in law enforcement can understand.

As we begin National Police Week, we want to thank each and every officer around the country who dedicates their life to protecting us. It’s also important to hear the experience from the other side — from the family members who lose important time with their loved ones while they protect our families and communities.

Tony Gonzales spent over 31 years with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. During that time, his three young sons admit that, while immensely proud of their father, they often had to be cautious when other kids asked what their dad did for a living — not out of embarrassment, but out of fear for their family.

To get through the tough times, his wife Toni told us: “For everything in my life, my faith and trust in God has always and continues to see me through so many of my fears and uncertainties.”

Below is a letter JP Gonzales recited to his middle school showing his appreciation for his father and reminding all police officers that their heroic work matters and is appreciated.

Seeing the world from the child of a police officer only reminds House Republicans why we will always stand with our men and women in blue. May God bless them and keep them safe.

This is My Tribute to Police Officers, like My Dad.

You wake up every morning, as usual, before everyone else. You shower, grab your coffee, throw up a prayer to your patron saint, St Michael, and ask the Good Lord to bless and protect your loved ones and to PLEASE bring you back home safely tonight. Then, with a smile, you remember that your son has a game tonight and then dinner with friends and family after. This gives you that push to get through your day.

You get to the station and realize now it’s time to put on THAT side, that side that isn’t pretty but you know the streets are cruel and this is how they must be met. You’re even aware that some of the people that don’t really like you around are sometimes the same people you’ll have to protect when they themselves feel threatened by danger. Of course, this won’t stop you from helping them even if it means you have to face your own biggest fears for them.

Then, in morning briefing, you find out that elderly women are being bullied and their purses are being stolen from them. In an instant you gather your team and set up an operation to work late and find these cowardly individuals.

 It’s hard to do but the thought of elderly women being targeted sickens you, so, you text home to let the family know that, once again, you’ll be late and will have to miss your son’s game and dinner after.

 “You guys be careful and lock the doors. I’ll text when I’m leaving the station. I don’t know when that will be.”

Gratefully, you’re able to apprehend the two suspects just before they attack another victim. You make the arrest and can only hope they will serve JUST time for their crimes.

In your thoughts you wonder, “Is it all worth it?” “Does this really matter?”                   

I’m here to tell you that from me and all these children in this room, YOUR HARD WORK IS APPRECIATED!  We, here at St Margaret Mary, do appreciate all that you peace-officers do to keep our cities safe. I know that you’re profession isn’t always portrayed as the HEROES you REALLY are, but, PLEASE KNOW that WE know, POLICE LIVES DO MATTER and they matter to ALL OF US!!  THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!

Dad,

I know your eyes have seen things you never want me to see. And, because you face these situations every day, without a complaint, doesn’t go unrecognized. You chose your childhood profession because back then, police were portrayed as the heroes they are. You are a hero, dad!! You’re my, Gavin’s, and Jarrett’s hero.  

I LOVE YOU.