Valley residents did not have to know Sgt. Brandon Mendoza personally to understand his impact on the city.
And that's why they stood in 100-degree weather Friday morning, waving American flags, holding their hands over their heavy hearts, during a procession following Mendoza's funeral
The "iconic" Mesa officer was killed by a wrong-way driver in Tempe early Monday morning.
"I just feel sorry for the family and what they're going through. I feel sorry,” said Mesa resident Lori Barcomb.
A.J. Richards brought his family to the procession, waving one of those American flags.
As a veteran who served in Iraq, he felt it was important for them to be there.
"Being military, I know how much it hits home when you lose a brother,” said Richards.
The hard work that Sgt. Mendoza put in to protecting the city of Mesa, is something A.J wants not only his family, but everyone, to always respect and honor.
“I want the people to go by in the procession to see that there's support, there's love. Sometimes they don't get the respect they deserve,” said Richards
And he hopes his young daughter will remember Sgt. Mendoza for the sacrifices he made, to make sure their community was safe.
"For guys to suit up, whether it's military or civilian, and put themselves in harm’s way, to protect me and my family while we're sleeping…that's a higher calling,” said Richards.
According to a Mesa Police Department press release, donations can be made to the family of Officer Mendoza by:
-Sending checks or cash to Barb McReynolds, Mesa Police Department, PO Box 1466, Mesa AZ 85211. Checks payable to 100 Club of AZ go directly to the 100 Club Survivors fund in memory of Brandon Mendoza. Checks payable to: M. Mendoza go directly to Brandon’s mother (his beneficiary). Checks payable to The Mesa Police Association Officer Assistance Fund go directly to Brandon’s mother
•Donating to any Wells Fargo, by designating it to the Mesa Police Association Officers Assistance Fund/Mendoza.