Son's dream prompts mom's fears
There was a man, a good man who was a son, brother, grandchild, nephew, and uncle, but also a proud husband and father. He was a good friend to all. He was also a brave Elyria policeman. Officer James Kerstetter was killed in the line of duty on March 15, 2010.
I am sure there are very few citizens of Lorain County who do not recognize Jimmy’s name and know of his sacrifice.
Jack and I have met a good many of Danny’s fellow officers, but somehow always missed meeting Jimmy. When this unbelievable crime occurred we were in our cozy house in Illinois.
We went to bed but the phone woke us up much later. Our son was full of grief he had never experienced before and we hope never has to again. The rest of the night I could not sleep. My mind kept playing the “what if” game.
Jack and I arrived in town that weekend to watch the children so Dan could handle the details he was assigned and Erin was free to accompany Dan and the other officers’ wives.
Giving support was the goal of each and every one over the difficult days, weeks, months, and still to this day.
When Dan became a policeman for Elyria almost 14 years ago, we were so proud of his accomplishments. This was Dan’s lifelong dream.
He entered the Army and took a longer basic that gave him military police training. After his Army tour, he got a job in Canon City, Colo., at the super-max prison on death row as a corrections officer.
After a year of prison duty he was ready to return home to Wellington. After completing many applications he found a position at the detention center, but soon after Elyria called. There were more weeks of training before he took his oath in Elyria as Erin, Jack and I watched the solemn ceremony.
The week Dan started his first week of duty, I was involved in a jury trial at the courthouse. As I was headed down West Avenue I noticed a side street cordoned with yellow tape and police cars with lights flashing. My heart leapt into my throat.
When I got to the courthouse I found a payphone, called the police station, and naturally, they would not tell me anything.
I explained who is was, where I was, and that was that.
A few hours later, in the middle of the trial, a note was given to the judge, and a short recess convened. In the jury room, I was given a note that Dan was fine.
That evening as I said my prayers, I gave Dan up to the power and protection of God and His angels. I could not spend the rest of my days worried like I was that morning.
I thought of Erin and how this must be for her. How must this be for every policeman’s family? How do you combat an unknown? So I know I have done only what I can do.
Then came Jimmy. That weekend we listened to stories about Jimmy. We listened about how beautiful and loving his funeral had been. Grief and laugher, you have one with the other.
I am hoping to have the honor of meeting Jimmy’s mother this summer. We have become letter friends and now I know why Jimmy was such a wonderful man; his mother has remarkable strength and faith. I can’t wait to meet her.