We Will Endure, We Will Overcome, Together

Joe Gamaldi, President

There are no magic words I can say, no quote I can offer that will remove the incredible grief we are all feeling right now. Even days after the helicopter crash that claimed his life, it still doesn’t seem real that we have lost our brother, Officer Jason Knox.

If you didn’t have the pleasure of knowing Jason, he was a great officer, husband, father, son, and a great man. I had the pleasure of getting to know Jason over the last few years as he restored two classic Houston police cars.. His passion for these projects was unlike anything I had seen, and he would go into excruciating detail of just how hard it was to find that perfect paint color. He would then bemoan the point that it was not “perfect” but good enough.

Let me assure you, as most have seen the cars, they truly are perfect, but that was just his personality. His dream assignment on the Houston Police Department was to be at “Fox.” When he finally got there, he was beyond excited and couldn’t wait to attend flight school this summer. I believe the phrase getting thrown around at me was, “Oh man I am going to stay here forever.”

Jason was truly the best of us and it’s hard to adequately explain just how many people he touched in our community. But let me assure you that hundreds of people have contacted me, all with a special story about Jason. Community members, business owners, high school/college kids, reporters, City Council members and officers from across the country have reached out to share amazing stories about Jason and his infectious positivity and personality.

As we move forward it will be important that we are all there for Keira, his wife, his two children, his parents, Mike, a Houston City Council member, and Helen during this impossibly difficult time. The Knox family has a wonderful network of HPD families and friends, but they will need all of our prayers and support. I know we always say “Never Forget” but that is not just a phrase. We embody that practice for our surviving families. They will always have our support and we will always be there for them.

While we continue to pray and rally around the Knox family, I also will ask you to do the same for Officer Chase Cormier and his family. Chase is currently in stable condition at the hospital, but he has a very long road ahead. He has already had multiple surgeries and there will surely be more to come. While we grieve for Jason, we also need to be there for the Cormier family throughout his recovery period.

Just like with Jason, I have received hundreds of calls, a ton of them from our rodeo family, all sharing amazing stories of how Chase touched their lives. Chase is a combat veteran and is as tough as they come. There is no doubt in my mind that he will come out the other side of this stronger than before, especially with all of our support.

This is what we do as Houston police officers. No matter the obstacles, the pain, the grief, we will endure this moment in time and we will overcome. Right now, with the grief we are feeling for Jason and the worrying for Chase’s health, this can all seem insurmountable but it’s not – IF WE STICK TOGETHER! Look out for one another, talk to your co-workers and friends, be each other’s keeper. If you see someone who is having a rough time, pull them aside and check on them. If you need someone to talk to, you can always contact HOPA our 24/7 peer support hotline at 832-200-3499 or the National peer support hotline COPLINE 1-800-267-5463.

Undoubtedly, someone you know or someone from the community will ask how they can help the families. Encourage them to make donations to our charity, Assist the Officer, which is a 501c3 that has helped Houston police officers and their families for more than 30 years. They can donate at assisttheofficer.com, where both families have a dedicated link, or they can send a check to 1600 State St, made out to “Assist the Officer” with the family name in the note section. All donations to ATO go directly to the families.

Finally, THANK YOU to every Houston firefighter, Houston police officer and Life Flight crew members, who all did an amazing job getting both of our heroes out of the wreckage and to the hospital as quickly as possible. And thank you to our community. The outpouring of support has once again been incredible and shows us all just how much the people we serve care for us.

As always, be safe out there and if you need anything, even just talk I am only a phone call, text away, or you can also reach me at the following: email (jgamaldi@hpou.org), messenger on Facebook, DM on twitter (@JoeGamaldi).