Some firsts by women cannot be celebrated. Last Wednesday Kerrie Orozco was the first female police officer in Omaha, Nebraska to die in the line of duty. She was shot when she and another officer attempted to arrest a felon.
Kerrie Orozco was a friend to many children. She coached baseball at an Omaha Boys and Girls Club. Whenever she saw a child playing ball in the street, she would stop and talk to the child. “Why don’t you come play ball at the Boys and Girls Club?” she would ask. Participation in sports with other children was her way of keeping young people off the street and involved in their community. Kerrie Orozco was also a Special Olympics volunteer.
She had two-step children (Natalia, 8, and Santiago, 6) but she and her husband, Hector Orozco Lopez, had given birth to their first child together only last February. Unfortunately, the girl was premature and had been in the hospital ever since. Orozco had arranged a maternity leave beginning the day her daughter came home. That leave was to start the day after she was shot and died.
We all mourn the sacrifice of this brave woman. We also acknowledge the unwitting and unknown sacrifice of her daughter who will grow up without her. Being a First Woman can be difficult, but few women must give their lives to be first.
May blessings fall on Kerrie Orozco’s family, on all her friends, and on all the children who were graced with her attention and caring, as they try to make sense of senselessness.