The parents of an officer who died in the line of duty in 2008 while attempting to prevent an accident continue to see that their son's commitment to public safety lives on.
Debbie and Rick Burnfield donated a dog to the Cape Coral Police Department on Monday in memory of their son Nathan, whose dream was to become a K-9 unit officer.
Officer Burnfield, also a volunteer firefighter, was fatally injured as he removed a tire from an interstate highway in his home state of Pennsylvania. A dump truck driver swerved to miss a police vehicle on the shoulder and struck Officer Burnfield as he was leaving the roadway, news accounts from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette state.
Officer Burnfield, who was 27, died on scene as did the truck driver, whose vehicle overturned in the accident.
"We lost Nate when his career was just beginning," said Debbie Burnfield at Monday's Cape Coral City Council meeting. "By doing this, Nathan's dream will live on. The dog makes him reborn."
K-9 Nate will receive Officer Burnfield's old badge number and will be handled by Sean McCreary, who was born and raised here in Cape Coral.
Members of the CCPD K-9 unit were on hand for the ceremony, which resulted in a standing ovation for the family and unit's newest member.
This is not Mr. and Mrs. Burnfield's first donation in memory of their son. They previously donated bullet-proof vests to the CCPD K-9 unit.
We thank them for their donations. From their pain, they continue to remember not only their son, but what he lived - and died - for.
There is no more fitting legacy than this.
- Breeze editorial