Police Officers Surprise Late Colleague's Son & Join Him on First Day of School: 'Means a Lot'
The colleagues of a Las Vegas police officer who died of COVID-19 complications were by his son's side this week to offer support as he started a new school year.
Noah Swanger lost his father Jason Swanger in June, but he wasn't alone on the first day of fourth grade on Monday.
"The families of the fallen are not left behind. Our officers escorted Noah Swanger, 9, to his first day of 4th grade at Steve Schorr Elementary," the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department wrote on Twitter.
"Noah wants to be the #LVMPDSheriff one day. You are family and know we will always be here for you," the department added in a follow-up tweet.
In a video clip shared by the LVMPD, Noah chats with the officers from his father's squad and gives them hugs, before mom Christa Swanger chimes in to inform them that Noah is wearing a tie to school because "he's the man of the house now."
Christa told ABC affiliate KTNV that the escort to school was a surprise for her son.
"It overwhelms him because he just, he appreciates it," she said. "He has a lot of family and we have a lot of friends, but this is his connection to his dad in the police department, so it means a lot to him that they're all here for him."
Jason Swanger, 41, died of complications from COVID-19 on June 24, leaving behind Noah, Christa and daughter Leilani. He was a seven-year veteran of the LVMPD, and was a field training officer assigned to patrol at Enterprise Area Command (EAC), according to a statement from the department. His death is considered to have occurred in the line of duty.
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"It was actually the first squad that he felt a part of," Christa told KTNV. "There's a lot of guys on there, a lot of different personalities, and I think this was the first squad he actually felt like he fit in and belonged [to]."
According to his obituary, Swanger was born and raised in Rhode Island, and served as a culinary specialist in the U.S. Navy for 11 years. He also joined the Army Nevada National Guard before heading to LVMPD in 2013.
"Jason was a man among men. He stood for his country, his family, his faith, nobility, and honor. He was a man of his word and a man of his convictions," his obituary said. "Jay was larger than life. His laugh and smile were contagious. He had the ability to turn a bad day into a great day with one of his one-liners."