|April 18, 2018|
|Sean F. Driscol (Cape Cod Times)||Metrowest Daily News|
SOUTH YARMOUTH - Sean Gannon was a police officer, a husband, a son, a brother and a friend.
But above it all, he was a true Christian whose death has left those who loved him leaning on their own faith to find solace in the wake of tragedy.
"That life and love are now separated from us, and it hurts so much," the Rev. Paul Caron, pastor at St. Pius X, said during Gannon's funeral Wednesday. "But if we dwell only on that, our lives shared with Sean would devolve into some meaningless hate and hurt. Through the lives of those we love, we learn life's lessons. How they live and how they die speak to us clearly of our own faith journey."
Gannon, a Yarmouth police K-9 officer, was shot and killed in the line of duty April 12 while helping to serve an arrest warrant in Marstons Mills. His patrol dog, Nero, was also shot and continues to recover from his injuries. Gannon joined the force in 2010 and was promoted to sergeant posthumously, according to a statement issued Wednesday by the department.
Thousands of mourners, including police from across New England along with local, state and federal lawmakers, gathered both inside and outside the church and lined the streets of Yarmouth to honor his life. It was the final act in a week of public mourning.
A massive contingent of law enforcement and public safety personnel flocked to Yarmouth and marched down Station Avenue to and from the church to honor Gannon's sacrifice. The 32-year-old New Bedford native's devout Catholicism was where Caron and Bishop Edgar da Cunha of the Fall River Diocese focused their words during the hourlong service.
Caron, who has known Gannon and his family for decades, recalled a time in June when, only a few days after becoming pastor at St. Pius, a call came to his office: The police were on their way up.
It took only a moment before the knock came on his door: "'Police. Open up,'" Caron said, his voice lowering to approximate an urgent command from the law.
He did, and found Sean Gannon standing there.
"(I) saw that wry smile and those eyes, and suddenly I was enveloped in a bear hug. 'Father Paul, welcome to Yarmouth,'" Caron recalled Gannon saying.
"It was funny, and it was Sean, and I've thought about that a lot, particularly in the last several days," Caron said. "Although I saw him many times after that, there was something about the humor and genuine hospitality that I will never forget."
Caron recounted a conversation with Gannon's mother, Denise, in which she said that she knows her son is nearby, even in death, and that he is OK.
"Denise also reminded me, long ago, I told her if I could ever have a son," Caron said, pausing just a moment, his voice cracking, "I would like him to be just like Sean. There is a line from 'Les Miserables' that goes 'To love another person is to see the face of God.' Sean lived this, and he saw God every day."
Da Cunha, in offering his condolences to Gannon's wife, Dara, his parents, Denise and Patrick, and the rest of his family, said the service and the prayers of those from across the country would help begin to ease their pain.
"I hope that our presence and the presence of so many people gathered here with you, I hope that our prayers will bring a measure of consolation to you, knowing that you are not alone," he said. "Know that we all share your loss, we all share your pain and your sorrow. May the memories of Sean's life and all that he did to help other people, may the knowledge that he loved what he did, bring you some sort of consolation and hope."
As the service was ongoing, scores of people lined the streets near the church, awaiting the procession to Chandler Gray Cemetery in West Yarmouth, a short distance from the police station. Schoolchildren came from off-Cape to pay their respects during their school vacation week; others, like Josh Pelletier of West Yarmouth, took a day off from work.
"I'm out here supporting Sean and the Yarmouth Police Department," Pelletier said as he held an American flag.
He worked for the Yarmouth Public Works Department before taking a job with his current employer, the town of Chatham, and knew Gannon from his time with the town. He was impressed by how personable and professional the young officer was.
"(Gannon) would give you the shirt off his back," Pelletier said.
Dakota Rafuse bundled his 2-month-old son, Colvin, in a fleece coverall and took him outside their home on Station Avenue to watch the procession of hundreds of police officers marching from Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School to the church.
"He won't remember it," Rafuse said of Colvin. But, he said, he'll be sure to tell his son about what he witnessed and what police officers and firefighters go through on a daily basis.
"If it can happen here, it can happen anywhere," Rafuse said.
Dara Gannon, flanked by family, hugged Caron and da Cunha before entering a waiting limousine. Others boarded black vans for the processional, accompanied by Yarmouth police officers, to the private burial service.
In closing his eulogy, Caron turned back to Gannon's playful visit last summer, when the two men were reunited in their new, shared hometown.
"As I kept thinking about it, I thought that Sean was so welcoming and full of that love that, last Thursday in that horrible moment, God smiled at him. Sean recognized him, (God) gave Sean a big hug and said 'Sean, welcome to heaven,'" Caron said. "We will never forget you. May your joy and your faith give us strength. You made a difference in the lives of so many. As we come here to celebrate God's love ... we pray we find strength for our journey of life and faith, even as we thank God for so great a gift as Sean.
"May he rest in peace."
Staff writer Cynthia McCormick contributed to this report. Sean F. Driscoll can be reached at sdriscoll@capecodonline. Follow him on Twitter: @seanfdriscoll
Large steaming pile of underemployed police officers
It is said that those who live by the sword die by the sword.
Sean Gannon lived by the gun and died by a gun. Actually most of
Sean's short eight year career apparently was dog care.
Picking up shit all the time. Now, Yarmouth has to find another
person to cleanup behind the dog.
By being a devout Catholic he identified himself as an idiot believing in a large three headed imaginary creature (pretty much like this idiot ). One head is this imaginary Jesus character. Sean Gannon had some really stupid esoteric beliefs and basically took his orders from the Pope and a bunch of celibate old men
I wish the article had a headcount of police officers of all police departments. I'm guessing even Framingham had representation. It's impressive to see the sheer waste of public time and resources they go through to show solidarity and thump their chests like gorillas.
It's revolting that he was promoted to sergeant posthumously. I consider this public corruption. I'd like to study the extra benefits to survivors and how the taxpayers are getting ripped off. If there are no such benefits, why not make him Pope or better yet, a Saint.
It's only a matter of time before some homegrown terrorist cell arranges for one of these ludicrous state funerals for a cop, and mows down the funeral procession. I wonder if they consider security from a Ford F-150.
I personally think all believers should have a colored tattoo on their foreheads. Blue for Christian, purple for Catholic, black for muslims, and pink for Hindu. Wouldn't that be entertaining?
Sean Gannon Pic 1
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