Candlelight Vigil for Deputy John Norsworthy

6 01 2011

The following was written by Jamie Mock, and published by FortBendNow.com on January 6, 2011:

The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office Peace Officers Memorial Monument was surrounded Wednesday night by somber faces reflecting flickering candlelight as hundreds gathered to honor the life of Deputy John “J.D.” Norsworthy, who died Tuesday from injuries sustained in an on-duty car accident.

Hundreds gathered Wednesday night for a candlelight vigil in honor of Deputy John J.D. Norsworthy.

Norsworthy’s family filled seats to the side of a podium where law enforcement co-workers spoke in remembrance of Norsworthy, who was described as a brother, a dedicated peace officer, a proud father and a loyal husband.

“Heaven has gotten a little bit safer with his presence,” said Sgt. Wayne Hastedt, president of the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Association.

Norsworthy’s wife Melissa sat with their 16-year-old son Jacob on her right and their 13-year-old daughter Katlyn on her left. Her son comforted her throughout the ceremony, holding her hand as she cried.

“Melissa, you spent 19 years married to a loving, honorable family man,” said Captain James Pokluda “Jacob, Katlyn, your father often spoke of you with great pride.”

To Norsworthy’s father, “You raised a son who was a success in every aspect of his life. John was in every way what we all want to be. J.D. was our friend and he was our brother. We will be here for you every step of the way.”

Hastedt related a story that he said illustrated Norsworthy’s well-defined sense of humor.

A young deputy, new to the Sheriff’s Office, responded to a call involving young boys throwing frogs against a wall.

When the deputy returned from the call, Norsworthy asked, with a straight face, if the young deputy had followed protocol and called the Frog Abuse Hotline. The deputy, eager to complete his duties, asked for the number. Norsworthy complied, giving him the number of the newly promoted patrol sergeant.

John J.D. Norsworthy’s family is shown at Tuesday night’s candlelight vigil held in honor of the deputy, who died Tuesday as the result of an on-duty car accident Dec. 27. His wife Melissa is shown on the left between their two children, 16-year-old Jacob and 13-year-old Katlyn.

The deputy called the number and reported the “frog abuse” to his patrol sergeant, believing he was reporting it to the “Frog Abuse Hotline.”

“Needless to say, J.D. got the new deputy and the new patrol sergeant,” said Hastedt.

“Heaven called one of our finest home today,” he finished. “May God bless you, J.D. Until we meet again.”

Chief Deputy Craig Brady said he didn’t get to know Norsworthy very well, which was probably a good thing, because “in my position typically the guys I get to know very well are in some sort of trouble.”

“At the time he died, he was doing what he loved to do,” said Brady. “Y’all are part of our family. Anything y’all need, we are here for you.”

Sheriff Milton Wright told the family that according to the Red Cross, the blood donations made in Norsworthy’s name were the highest ever in Texas for a single cause. The previous record was 500, as of yesterday, donation in his name were still coming in, totaling more than 700.

John J.D. Norsworthy’s father, also John Norsworthy, spoke at the Wednesday night vigil in honor of his son.

Norsworthy’s brother-in-law Daryl Roth read a statement prepared by the family.

“Our hearts are so deeply broken, and our lives will never be the same,” said Roth. “John was a happy, tender, kind, courageous and honorable husband, father, son, brother,  grandson, uncle, friend…and so much more. He has always provided comfort to our family as well as plenty of fun and laughs. John truly loved being an officer and he would do it all over again – with no regrets. We will miss him dearly until we see him again in Heaven. We know this world is not our home, but this pain still hurts incredibly deep to the core.”

Norsworthy’s father, also John Norsworthy, spoke last.

“I am humbled and honored for John David, J.D., to have been my son,” said John Norsworthy.

He said his son took the best from all the generations of his family. He said he and his wife suspected when their son was between 2 and 4 years old that he would either be career military or a policeman.

“He wasn’t a great high school student, but boy he busted those academy tests,” said Norsworthy’s father. “He was top of the line.”

He said he son, explaining to him his dream to be a peace officer, told him “Dad, if I can save one child from being approached by someone dealing drugs, or if I can catch a thief, make this world a better place, it is worth it.”

“He died probably being one of the happiest guys in the world because he was on his way to maybe catch a thief,” said his father. “And no one hated a thief more than J.D.”

He went on to say that he has never seen such a showing of support and kindness as he has from the Sheriff’s Office.

“If you knew John, you were honored,” he said. “As a parent, I could not be more proud than I am this week, as I am here tonight, and as I will be when I put my son, his mother’s son, John David J.D. Norsworthy, to rest.”

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