VAN METER, Iowa — For a small town, there is no shortage of pride.
“It was so tragic what happened. No one should have to suffer like that, so we are out here just trying to support the best we can,” said eighth-grader Madeline LaVallee.
The procession for Des Moines Officer Carlos Puente-Morales was routed in front of the Van Meter School District, giving a unique opportunity for students and staff to pay their respects.
“They’ll never forget this. They’ll never forget this their entire lives. Even the little ones,” said Barb Sandusky, food service manager for the district.
As the hearse carried officer Puente-Morales to his burial site, hundreds of law enforcement agency vehicles followed behind.
Senior Collin Hicks said he was speechless as he stood at attention and held a salute as the procession rolled by.
“As a current service member, I try my best to salute and give my respect to those who came before me,” he said.
Although he was a stranger to many along the route, Officer Puente-Morales left a lasting impact.
“It gave me goosebumps,” said Sandusky. “You feel like you know him because he was a representative of all police officers.”