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Louisiana widow says Police Week in D.C. offers “community” for the grief

The wife of Richland Parish’s Randy Vallot is in the nation’s capital to honor his life alongside hundreds of other fallen officers this week.
Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 2:31 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - One of the officers being remembered this week during National Police Week is Richland Parish, La.’s Randy Vallot. He passed away after a fight with COVID-19 over a year ago. His loss left a hole in the community and at home.

“We’re just trying to live a normal life, and trying to move forward,” said Karen Vallot, Randy’s widow.

Karen’s husband is one of many officers being recognized this week, the second time this year National Police Week is being held after virtual ceremonies in the spring. Karen said having to wait to hold this event felt like delaying a funeral. But she feels a sense of community in Washington this week.

“The love and support here is amazing. If you just show up crying somewhere people will come up and hug you,” said Vallot.

Randy’s loss is a representation of the toll the pandemic took on police departments throughout the country. Richland Parish Sheriff Gary Gilley said Vallot’s passing continues to impact his department.

“He towed the load. He knew what to do and when to do it. We miss him everyday,” said Gilley.

Gilley said some of his officers continue to struggle with Randy’s absence, but he says they try to think of the good times and remember him that way. And Gilley said traveling to Washington this week is another helpful step in the grieving process.

“This is apart of remembering, honoring, and respecting those who died,” said Gilley.

Events began Thursday night and they will continue through the weekend.

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