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Honors continue for late Stonington police Captain Jerry Desmond

Stonington — The honors continue for late Stonington police Capt. Jerry Desmond.

On Jan. 10, U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, read a statement describing Desmond's life and service into the Congressional Record, and last Thursday the Board of Education voted unanimously to dedicate a small road behind the Stonington High School gym as Desmond Way with a memorial.

Desmond, 63, died Dec. 24 after a long battle with cancer. In addition to working for the police department for 34 years before retiring in 2014, he spent many years helping coach the high school's gymnastics, track and football teams.

He helped oversee the police department's marine unit, was involved with the department's dive team, was a boating instructor, a youth officer and led the department's school safety initiatives in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings in 2012.

After retiring, Desmond took a job with the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection as its boating safety representative. Many friends, residents and fellow police officers attended his wake in the Stonington High School gym and subsequent funeral.

In the statement he made about Desmond on the floor of the House of Representatives, Courtney discussed Desmond's life, saying that "From an early age, Jerry was instilled with the value of giving whatever task or challenge laid before him a full '100 percent.' This principle guided him through life to the very end, even during his arduous battle with cancer which he did so with an infectious sense of optimism and the can-do attitude that defined his life."

"Madame Speaker, it is an incredible honor to represent constituents as loyal to the future of their community as Jerry. I had the privilege to interact with him as congressman and can attest to his diligent professionalism and down to earth personality which was so engaging," said Courtney.

He added that Desmond's "life was defined by his love for teaching and giving to his community. His actions touched thousands of people, and he served as an excellent role model for Stonington's next generation. Though the gap left by his generous and caring nature could not hope to be filled in the Stonington community, we can find relief in the reality that those whose lives were enriched by Jerry's presence will not soon forget his example."

The whole statement can be read at bit.ly/crdesmond.

At last week's school board meeting, Superintendent of Schools Van Riley called the planned memorial behind the high school "a wonderful opportunity to recognize a very special person. ... It will be somewhere where people will see his name all the time and be able to remember what a fine person he was and what a supporter of our community and the school he was."

j.wojtas@theday.com

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