Surrounded by Orange Beach police officers and friends Tuesday afternoon, Amber Coleman placed a framed photo of her late husband Sgt. Travis Coleman on a wall in a special hallway at the Orange Beach Police Department.
Tuesday marked one year since Sgt. Coleman passed away after a medical emergency on March 27, 2017. While looking up at the photo, 4-year-old John David Coleman was asked, “Who is that?” He quickly replied, “Daddy,” and smiled.
Many officers smiled and remembered Sgt. Coleman on Tuesday. During the low-key ceremony, Sgt. Rodney Kirchharr told Amber they wanted to make sure she was part of the remembrance.
“We want to make sure that you know that y’all are always welcome here,” Sgt. Kirchharr said. “Anytime you need anything, we’re here for you. You’re still part of this family.”
Lt. John Simonson began the ceremony by reading the Bible scripture, 1st Corinthians, Chapter 15.
“I love this scripture because it talks about how death is not the end,” Lt. Simonson said after the reading. “So often in our lives and so often in the world, we lose, we hurt, we mourn and we forget that death is not the end. … We have a photo we want to hang on the hallway that we’ll always be able to walk by and alway be able to remember the impact that Travis had on our lives.”
Asst. Chief Steve Brown read comments penned by Chief Joe Fierro, who was out of town on city business.
“Today, March 27th, 2018, marks one year since the passing of Sgt. Travis Coleman. Travis epitomized service and protection to not only our community but to also his fellow officers and employees. Anyone who knew Travis feels a lasting loss. Please remember how Travis lived. He lived with a purpose and served others above himself. It wasn’t all about him. He was simply a great guy.”
“As you walk along this hallway where this photo will be posted,” Chief Fierro wrote, “remember the sacrifice of so many in law enforcement. Remember that your daily actions and words represent a proud tradition ... something greater than any individual. Sgt. Coleman embodied these qualities. Today we remember Travis and his service. Every day we must honor and emulate his example. I’ll leave each of you with this question: How do you want to be remembered?”
The framed photo of Sgt. John Travis Coleman, a 13-year veteran of the Orange Beach Police Department (2004-2017), now rests under the framed photos of Investigator Glenn Lewellen (1999-2011) and Lt. Joe Constantino (1996-2015). The hallowed hallway also includes photos of all of the department’s past police chiefs as well as those who retired from the OBPD force.