Karla Pope pointed toward three dozen police officers and firefighters sitting in the stands at the Jeff Davis gym. And then, she defined the word hero. "A hero is not something that you do," she said. "It's what you are. These are our heroes."
The law enforcement agents were the special guests at a homecoming pep rally.
Pope told the community college students, "Our police officers and firefighters are extraordinary men and women who devote themselves to the protection of others without regard for their own safety."
One by one, the criminal justice instructor introduced the invited guests. And then Becky Gatain stepped to the microphone. She said, "We need to recognize our folks here at home who thankfully they take care of us and they protect us."
Gatain added a special touch to the special program. The JD instructor performed the Mariah Carey song "Hero" through sign language. It was an emotional moment for the special guests.
Ocean Springs police officer J.D. Owens said, "It gives us a feeling that our community cares about us." Bay St. Louis policeman Richard Hannah said, "I shows all the support that our community can ever give us. I love them."
Just before the officers headed back to their patrol cars and fire trucks, Gatain reminded them that they were invited to the Jeff Davis campus "to let you know that you're always in our hearts and in our prayers and in our thoughts and we support you in your work. Thank you."