Officer Javier Bejar Memorial Tree in Reedley
REEDLEY, Calif. (KFSN) -- It's been nearly five months to the day Reedley police officer Javier Bejar was shot and killed during a shootout in Minkler.
Saturday morning, in front of dozens of people, Officer Bejar was given a special honor in front of a place he loved.
"The hardiness, ruggedness and strength of the olive tree makes it the perfect symbol for a righteous man according to David in Psalm 52:8."
Reedley Police Chief Steven Wright has always referred to Officer Javier Bejar as someone who gave life to his department. On Saturday, the community gave some of that life back by dedicating an olive tree along with a plaque that in part reads, 'a man does what he must in spite of personal consequences.'
"This is a symbol and a memorial that's gonna last for generations upon generations," said Reedley Police Chief Steven Wright.
The tree is part of a memorial garden build right in front of the Reedley Police Department. Officer Bejar's family, including his wife helped christen the tree by throwing dirt and pouring water at its roots.
Officer Bejar's older sister says it's a fitting tribute that reminds them of his life and their loss. "There's days that we think we can go on, but there's other times when the memory comes and even things like this, it's good but it just makes it more real, like oh yeah, it's true," said Maricela Bejar Chavez.
Community leaders say this garden is just one part of a series of tributes they have planned for Officer Bejar. Just last week, the City of Orange Cove, where he grew up, dedicated a rock and tree to his honor. Some hope it will serve as a reminder of how Officer Bejar lived his life and an example for how people should live theirs.
"So, go from here and make service to your fellow man a priority this year to honor Javier Bejar, a man whose honor will not be forgotten," said Reedley Mayor Mary Fast.
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