Officer Leo, Here's to You.
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Officer Leo, Here's to You.

May we never let your legacy fade.

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Officer Leo, Here's to You.
Jarrett Duskey Photography

"I am strong when I am on your shoulders;

You raise me up to more than I can be."

Those are the words that rung in the ears of hundreds of people as they gathered in Girard Arrowhead Stadium, hearts heavy while they recall the prior week's events.

Officer Justin Leo was taken from us on October 21st, 2017, decades far too soon. Officer Leo was a son, a brother, a mentor, and most importantly, a friend, to the community of Girard, as well as many others. The lyrics above, although written by someone far away, were held close to those hundreds of people on Friday night: with Officer Leo lifting us up, there was no way we could fall.

This week was plagued by tears, heartache, and the infinite question "why?", however we were reminded that "happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on a light."

People all over were sharing their love and appreciation for our fallen officer by sharing their stories of his acts of kindness and his overall gracious nature.

Amanda Marsh recalls Officer Leo's protective acts at the Girard Sunoco gas station. She pointed out that once the gas station started staying open 24 hours, he made it a point to stop by a couple times during the night to make sure everything and everyone was alright. He did this every night.

Another story emerged about Leo knocking on the door of a veteran he pulled over for speeding and handing them the money for their speeding ticket out of pocket, thanking the veteran for his service.

Other Facebook posts show that Leo was known around town as "the cop who stops to play football with the kids", noting his dedication and love for the youth in the community.

He brought us together.


Thousands of shirts were sold in Leo's honor, nearly every sign throughout Girard pays tribute to him, Girard residents have his badge as a sticker on the back of their vehicles, and local businesses have collected money to donate to his family. Even Girard's biggest rival showed their support with a "We Stand With Girard" banner and endless hugs.

Trying to make sense of this seems silly, but in having a conversation about it, someone uttered the phrase "God wanted him to be an angel", and those 7 words never seemed so true.

May we open our arms and hearts to his friends, family, and community. May he watch over us and show us rays of light in the dark, and, most importantly, may we never let his legacy fade.


In memory of Officer Justin Leo

E.O.W 10.21.17

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