Tulsa Police Sergeant
People often take for granted the securities they enjoy without the thought of how they are so freely able to do so. Across the country our first responders put it all on the line every day with the uncertainty of what is to come. The unknown of what the days and nights present to them would be overwhelming for the average citizen yet they choose to serve a greater purpose by protecting the innocents in their cities. June 29, 2020 should have been just another day at the office but for two Tulsa police officers it was life changing.
Sgt. Craig Johnson and his partner Aurash Zarkeshan were conducting a traffic stop during their shift when both were shot multiple times, including in the head. Sgt. Johnson’s injuries were severe enough that they overtook him, and he would not recover. It is for those left behind, his wife and sons, who will struggle in the days, months, and years to come, that we strive to honor his sacrifice and remind all that there is a cost to everything we have and hold dear in life.
3rd Special Forces Group
We often hear of the price of freedom yet less so the story behind it. Eric Emond was not just another Special Forces soldier, Eric was a WARRIOR. His journey started in the United States Marine Corps as a Scout Sniper. While in the Marines, Eric completed Army Ranger School and deployed to both Afghanistan and Iraq. Eric was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps after seven years and joined the elite United States Army Special Forces Green Berets. While home on leave convalescing a severe TBI sustained during an RPG attack in 2009, Eric founded the Massachusetts Iraq and Afghanistan Fallen Heroes Memorial, dedicated to memorializing those sons and daughters of Massachusetts who died in service during the War on Terror.
In 2009, Eric was severely wounded by a rocket propelled grenade during an ambush while on his fourth deployment to Afghanistan. Eric suffered brain and spinal injuries but continued to engage the enemy over a 5-hour period saving the lives of several teammates. The wounds sustained during the battle warranted a medical discharge from the Army, but Eric rehabilitated himself and fought to stay in the Army. Eric was assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group, at Ft. Bragg, NC and is survived by his loving wife Allison and his three little princesses Lucy, Ruby, and Emilia. While he loved his country, his love for his family was unmatched.
Sergeant 1st Class
Will Duston Lindsay
Bravery…. a word frequently used out of context in such that, its true meaning, is often overlooked by those that come into contact with it. The valor of our military and first responders is second to none. This can easily be seen as they readily put themselves into harm’s way so that we may experience the freedoms and securities that they provide. One such provider of those freedoms was Sgt 1st class Will Lindsay. A devoted husband, dedicated father, son, and friend to many, Will was the face of bravery for everyone that knew him and a source of security for those that did not. While his life was filled with the love of everyone around him, his dedication to them to ensure their safety was done so through his 15 years of service in the military and as a Green Beret. Will’s achievements during his service were many but his greatest triumphs remained in Colorado, a loving wife and 4 beautiful daughters. It is for them that we honor Will by sharing his life and how he lived with those that he protected all across the country, so that they all can honor and Remember the Fallen….
….and when he gets to Heaven, to Saint Peter he will tell: “Just another soldier reporting, Sir. I’ve served my time in Hell.”
Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it…it flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it….
Houston Fire Department
Honor…a word that carry’s the weight of a person’s actions yet is lost in meaning in everyday conversation. As recipients of those that put their lives on the line every day for the public it is our duty to honor their actions and sacrifices by remembering why we call upon them in times of trouble and need. May 31, 2013 was one such time when tragedy struck the city of Houston in a horrific fire that claimed the lives of several of the city’s firemen. Running into the burning building Robert Yarbrough knew that a secondary collapse was imminent yet risked his life to save those still trapped inside. With over 31 years of his life dedicated to the city of Houston’s Fire Department it all came to abrupt halt as he sustained severe injuries to his neck, foot, leg, and shoulders. After speaking with Robert about our mission he was reluctant because he felt there were other people out there that were more deserving. His humbleness and bravery over the years ensured us we made the right decision in selecting him this year. Robert is going into his 17th surgery this August and we are hopeful for his speedy recovery as we remember those that have lost so much while giving to a cause greater than themselves.
Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class, U.S. Navy
It’s such an honor to have gotten to know Ryan through his wife, his best friend and his mother. This is the first tribute we’re sharing here and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Ryan’s story sets the tone for all the stories we’ll share over the next few weeks: a celebration of how these men lived. It’s going to be impossible to capture all that they were and all they meant to those who loved them, but hopefully you’ll at least get a glimpse that will help you understand why they are so missed.
Ryan and Cassie Lohrey were married just 37 days before the crash. Just a week after Ryan’s funeral, Cassie found out she was pregnant with their first child. The mix of heartbreak and joy is almost impossible to process.
Cassie gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Ryan Jo Lohrey, on March 6, 2018. Ryan Jo is clearly daddy’s girl – from her sparkly eyes to her happy, easy demeanor. Since Cassie first announced her pregnancy, it has been beautiful to witness the incredible gift this child is to all those who loved her father.
So in the spirit of little Ryan Jo, and in the spirit of her always-happy daddy, Ryan, I hope that reading about all the guys brings many smiles to all of you.
When Ryan Lohrey was a teenager, his parents bought a farm and Ryan would strap his pickup truck to himself and pull the truck up and down the driveway as a workout. He told his parents he was going to win the Strongman contest.
He pushed his wife and kids around in a golf cart for exercise.
And after a random long day at work, he’d casually announce to his friends that he was heading over to the gym and “rowing a marathon today.” They’d stop in and feed him slices of pizza as he rowed tirelessly into the night.
While on vacation in Mexico, he swam so far out in the open water that his mother-in-law threatened to forbid him to come on any more family trips if he was going to scare her like that.
Ryan was, as his mom Teresa said, “a fitness fanatic.” He played football as a youth and into high school, but once he started adding significant weight and muscle, he came home and announced, “I’m done with this,” and started running, dropping weight and adding a new element to his physical fitness fanaticism. “That was my son,” she said. Once he decided to do something, that was it.
Growing up as an only child in rural Middletown, Indiana, his mom shared that he was “such a happy little boy, always smiling and not picky about anything.” Outgoing from the beginning, she said that throughout Ryan’s youth it was nothing to “wake up in the morning to 6 or 7 guys sleeping here. And then the next night they’d all be at someone else’s house.” That carried into his time in the military when he’d bring someone from base every time he’d come home to Indiana.
Ryan developed his strong and determined work ethic from his father, Michael, who owned a masonry business when Ryan was young. Ryan would ride his bike to wherever they were working to help on the jobs. His mom laughs at his chosen workday lunch: tuna and BBQ sauce. She said she lost count of how many can openers she bought over the years because Ryan would lose them at job sites.
Ryan enlisted in the Navy in 2007 after appeasing his mom’s request that he attend college (he attended two years of community college after high school). His original plan was to become a Navy SEAL, but issues with his ears diverted him into the medical corps where he trained to become a special operations corpsman, a SARC. As a SARC (Special Amphibious Reconnaissance Corpsman), Ryan trained alongside his team of Marine Raiders in addition to serving as a specialized medical provider. It was during SARC training that he met Greg Norman, who became his closest friend. As Ryan’s mom said, “Once he met Greg, oh it was him and Greg all the time. Boy, they were a team.”
Greg could talk about Ryan all day and when we spoke, I wanted to listen to Greg talk about Ryan all day. He’s designated himself as Ryan’s official “hype man” and is happy to assume the role. As he said, “There are just so many moments, so many memories.”
They met at dive training, during which Greg injured his ear drum. Ryan transported Greg home and then never really left. Greg says, “My wife, Jacque, and I pretty much adopted him that day.” It worked out well for everyone, because Ryan became almost as much a friend to Jacque as he was to Greg. He would hang out watching sports and drinking beer with Greg (sidenote: I learned that somehow a Hoosier became a diehard New England Patriots fan!), then he would shift gears and watch “Clueless” and compare notes with Jacque on the latest celebrity gossip from People Magazine.
From Greg: “Ryan was just a happy-go-lucky dude. No matter what was going on, he maintained an even keel and could shrug it off. He just didn’t let things matter more than they needed to matter.” He shared a story of when Ryan was taking care of both of their sons (Ryan’s son, Gavin, and Greg’s son, Wes) as babies and just did it with total ease, not letting the inevitable infant crying episodes get to him at all.
He echoed Teresa’s stories of Ryan’s “beast mode” physical fitness. “Man, he could push himself physically. And he didn’t drink anything except Monster and water when he was working out. One day he’d be downing back-to-back Monsters, then they next day he’d carry around a jug of water all day.”
Ryan had encouraged Greg to complete a marathon with him and Ryan had been on a mission to eventually complete a 100-mile endurance race. Finding time to train and actually complete the race was hard to work into his schedule and it hadn’t happened. Last weekend, Greg ran in a 100-mile endurance race, completing 93 miles before the 30-hour cutoff. Not to be discouraged and determined to finish what Ryan wanted to do, Greg will be taking on the Indiana Trail 100 (in Ryan’s home state, naturally) this coming weekend.
Ryan was married a short time and became father to Gavin in 2011 and Maelyn in 2013 before divorcing shortly after. Greg and Jacque had been there through Ryan’s first marriage and were wary when Ryan suggested he bring a girl to a concert that the three had been planning to attend together. It became clear that night that it went from hesitation to “Ryan, don’t screw this up” with Cassie.
Ryan and Cassie met in 2014 while he was training at a hospital in Michigan where Cassie served as a Labor & Delivery Nurse. She guided him through his one and only delivery and she recalls watching him hold the newborn much like the scene in “The Lion King” when the lion cub is presented. She had to tell him three times to “put the baby on mom’s chest!” as he seemed, for once, a bit stunned.
Ryan and Cassie had an easy relationship, mainly because he was happy doing anything as long as they were doing it together. Golfing, cooking, “he’d do anything with me because he was just always happy.”
They were married on June 3, 2017.
From Cassie: “Ryan was just a special soul. The life of the party. He was never grumpy, never stressed. He always had jokes – sometimes to the point where they were annoying, but still made me laugh. He loved his family so much, and loved being a father.”
“And I never felt more loved in my whole life.”
I found myself smiling and laughing during every conversation I had about Ryan, and that certainly seems fitting for the strong, fun-loving, adventurous, easygoing man that he was.
HM1 Ryan Lohrey
8/24/1986 – 7/10/2017
Deputy, Bexar County Sheriffs Department
Arturo Garcia is a native Texan he was born in San Antonio, Texas. Art grew up in a very tough environment in the local projects called Alazan Apache Courts. Art attended Thomas Edison High School where he attained his High School Diploma.
Upon his successful completion of High School Art joined The United States Army in 1979. Art attended basic training at Fort Leonard wood, Missouri. Art continued his journey to Fort Benning Georgia where he attended AIT School. Art was stationed at Fort Lewis Washington and Germany. While in the Army Art tried out for and was accepted to the Army Boxing Team where he represented the Army. Unfortunately, in 1985 Art elected to end his career in the Army, in order to come home and take care of his aging parents.
This decision led Art to attend San Antonio College in 1990 where he completed the basic Police Academy obtaining his Basic Peace Officers license. After successfully completing the Academy, The Bexar County Sheriff’s Department hired Art where he is still currently employed. While on duty on March 17,2017 Deputy Art Garcia was involved in a major accident. Deputy Garcia was struck while conducting traffic enforcement by a driver who was texting while driving. Deputy Garcia suffered major injuries especially to one of his legs. The surgeons worked valiantly for several months after the accident trying to save Art’s leg after exhausting every known method to them a difficult decision was made to amputate his leg in order to fit him with a prosthetic leg.
The Bexar County Sherriff’s Office has been very supportive of Art and his Family during this very trying time. Art is hoping to return to work in mid-January if all goes as planned. Art is fighting through this episode in his life turning a negative into a positive by being a vocal figure in the fight against distracted driving in true Blue warrior fashion.