The death of a Houston-area officer late last month is still being mourned around the nation.
And tonight, members of the Sikh Temple of the Fox Valley celebrated a life of firsts.
The death of deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal created waves throughout the country.
And he made such an influence that even here, more than 12-hundred miles away in northeast Wisconsin, his absence is felt.
“The Sikh community is a very close-knit community. The law-enforcement community is a very close-knit community,” said Nick Oleszak of the Menasha Police Dept. “And here you have a member that was killed in the line of duty that’s a member of both communities.”
Dhaliwal was killed while conducting a routine traffic stop.
The 42-year-old lived every day in the service of others, and brought his faith along with him for every shift.
“The belief is if you take care of your family, which is the closest unit to you, you’ll be able to take care of the people around them,” said Sharan Kapoor of Appleton, and a member of the Sikh Temple of the Fox Valley.
Members of the Sikh faith are known as warriors–protectors of others.
And during Tuesday’s vigil, our local protectors paid their respects.
“He was a happy-go-lucky kind of a guy who cared about everybody genuinely,” she said. “And it shows in his character, it shows in his service to the community and it also shows he was a man of integrity and faith.”
He broke stereotypes as one of the first officers of the Sikh faith in the country, eventually being allowed to showcase his faith as he looked after those around him.
“He showed that one person can make a difference in bringing communities together,” said Kapoor.
Deputy Dhaliwal served with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office for 10 years, leaving behind a wife and three children.