TUKWILA, Wash. - Brian Barrett was just a little boy when his father, Joe, passed away in the early 1980s, so he recently sought to learn more about the former Tukwila police officer.
Brian, who is now a firefighter in Arizona, stopped by the Tukwila Police Department station last July.
Since then, current officers have worked to round up the men and women Joe Barrett served with.
And on Tuesday, they surprised Brian and his wife, Sara, as they were in town once again.
Twenty-five of Joe’s former colleagues and their wives were waiting at a Tukwila restaurant.
“I don't have a lot of memories of my dad,” Brian said as the surprise was revealed. “But Tukwila is home.”
Bob McQueen worked with Joe Barrett and bought Joe’s police badge after he died.
He intended to get it to the officer's son, but he wasn’t able to find him after Brian and his mother moved out of state.
On Tuesday, McQueen presented the badge to Brian.
“This is your father's badge,” McQueen said as he presented the priceless keepsake to Brian.
Current Tukwila Police Chief Bruce Linton spoke about the special bond between police, firefighters and their families.
“We do this because we are supported by our loved ones,” Linton said. “So I want to extend that support to you and thank you for your service and thank you for your dad's service.”
The day and the gesture weren't to celebrate a specific act of heroism, but to instead focus on the unbreakable bond among the people who put their lives on the line for the public every day.
“I don't have a lot from my dad,” Brian said. “This (is) instantly the most important possession of his I have. It'll mean a lot for me to put my badge right next to his.”
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