End of Watch: Officer Adam Jobbers-Miller laid to rest
Hundreds of family, friends and fellow first responders filled Germain Arena Monday to celebrate the life of fallen Fort Myers Police Officer Adam Jobbers-Miller.
Police officers from cities and towns across Florida first paid their respects by lining up at attention as Jobbers-Miller’s police SUV led the procession into the arena through the arch of a massive American flag suspended between two fire department ladders.
As the hearse and family limousines passed, somber-faced law enforcement continued their silent salute.
That respectful silence continued as people by the score began to follow the procession inside, where Jobbers-Miller’s casket was draped with an American flag and surrounded by flowers, pictures and the volunteer firefighter’s jacket he wore serving in his home state of New Jersey.
FMPD Chief Derrick Diggs thanked those who came out to pay tribute to the officer who died in the line of duty, making note of his life, service and dedication to his profession.
He then thanked Jobbers-Miller’s parents for having the honor of knowing their son.
“There are no words I can provide for comfort at this time,” Diggs said to the family, adding the FMPD and the community will continue to stand by them, becoming an extended family upon which they could lean on through their sorrow.
Jobbers-Miller had a promising future and looked to achieve much in law enforcement, a profession where officers know full well the dangers they face every day, Diggs said. “We are just regular people who want to make the world a safer place,” he said.
“Our job is to run towards danger unlike others, who run away from it.”
He spoke of the heroic nature of Jobbers-Miller, how a hero is an ordinary person who, when faced with an extraordinary task, performs with courage, honor and self sacrifice.
“Today, we’re here to honor our hero,” Diggs said. “Behind my badge is a heart like yours, one that is heavy.”
An emotional FMPD Capt. Jay Rodriguez was graciously thankful to all who have shown support throughout the last few weeks. He said the whole process was to make it about Jobbers-Miller and his life.
Rodriguez divulged how difficult-and understandably so-the last two weeks have been for himself and the FMPD, calling it “pure hell” and a “roller coaster of emotions.”
He told the countless uniformed personnel in the audience who together, will continue to support one another and the Jobbers-Miller family.
“The final call will end his service, but cannot end his memory,” Rodriguez concluded.
A video tribute played over Luke Bryant’s “Drink a Beer,” a song telling about the death of a loved one gone too soon.
Pictures depicting Jobbers-Miller with friends and family, and his FMPD brothers and sisters, were displayed over the ballad.
Throughout the ceremony, two FMPD officers stood watch over Jobbers-Millers’ casket, rotating with other officers in a powerful, methodical ritual.
The interchanging officers would slowly salute one another, gracefully switch spots, and gardually retreat with one another back to their seats.
FMPD Lt. Jeffery Bernice told cheerful stories of Jobbers-Miller and his time on the “Bravo Shift” for FMPD.
He recounted fun memories at the Miller ranch, where family gatherings often happened among FMPD officers.
He brought, just for a moment, smiles to the faces of those in attendance, recounting a story where Jobbers-Miller and friends pretended to act out their own version of Disney’s “Fantasia.” Instead of magical cloaks they had yellow raincoats, and in place of mystical wands, they used roman candles.
He remembered Jobbers-Miller as having a “warrior” mindset.
“He was a respectful and honorable warrior,” Bernice said.
The lieutenant also noted that Jobbers-Miller’s untimely passing has helped “strengthen the thin blue line,” connecting agencies and building bridges across Southwest Florida municipalities.
SWFL Public Service Academy Coordinator and retired City of Fort Myers Police Chief Dennis Eads shared stories of Jobbers-Miller’s character. He stated that the officer “beamed” the day he graduated the academy, that his picture “stood out from the others” because of how happy he was to officially join the force.
Eads also shared an example of Jobbers-Miller’s kindness, as he had a friend in the academy who was struggling with exams. Jobbers-Miller provided his friend with a “lucky pencil” to help him pass his tests. Apparently it worked, he said, as the in-need-of-some-help cadet passed each one.
FMPD Lt. Roger Valdivia spoke on behalf of the family.
“Our hearts are broken and our breath taken away from the outpouring of support for our Adam,” said Valdivia, reading from a statement.
The Rev. Mike Warthen officiated the services and asked those in attendance to stand if they would continue to support the Jobbers-Miller family during their difficult time.
All in the arena stood up.
“Take a look around,” he said to the family, to show them that they are not alone and can always find refuge in the community.
The final portion of the service took place outside, under a large Thin Blue Line American Flag- an American flag that is all black and white, with a blue stripe across one of the 13, just under the sea of stars-draped across two fire truck ladders.
“Taps” was played while the flag over the casket was folded and presented to Chief Diggs, and then to the family.
The final call for Jobbers-Miller was played across the loudspeaker from the dispatcher, signaling the last time his 524 number would be radioed.
“We have the watch from here. We are honored and proud to have known Officer Jobbers-Miller,” the dispatcher called out.
“Amazing Grace” was played by Guns n Hoses Pipes and Drums while the casket was placed into the hearse to be taken to Jobbers-Miller’s final resting place.
Author Heather Fitzpatrick tells of a legend that dragonflies were given an extra set of wings so that angels could ride on their back, and that whenever you see one, you can be certain that an angel has come down from heaven to visit you.
A dragonfly could be seen flying around the family and officers during the end of watch and final call-an occurrence that gives hope the phrase, “gone, but never forgotten.”
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