COMMUNITY REMEMBERS FALLEN OFFICER

Honoring Officer Cousette Graphic

<aside class=”pullquote alignright”>REMEMBERING COUSETTE:
<ul><li><a href=”https://wvua23.com/saying-goodbye-community-honors-life-memory-of-investigator-dornell-cousette/”>Saying Goodbye: Community Honors Life, Memory of Investigator Dornell Cousette:</a> Sept. 23, 2019</li><li><a href=”https://wvua23.com/candles-light-up-government-plaza-in-memory-of-fallen-officer/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>Candles Light Up Government Plaza in Memory of Fallen Officer:</a> Sept. 21, 2019</li><li><a href=”https://wvua23.com/churches-looking-to-bridge-gap-between-residents-police/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>Churches Looking to Bridge Gap Between Residents, Police:</a> Sept. 19, 2019</li><li><a href=”https://wvua23.com/alabama-paying-tribute-to-slain-officer/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>Alabama Paying Tribute to Slain Officer:</a> Sept. 18, 2019</li><li><a href=”https://wvua23.com/remembering-officer-cousette-police-honor-fallen-brother/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>Remembering Officer Cousette: Honoring Fallen Brother:</a> Sept. 17, 2019</li></ul></aside>

A week of reflection, mourning and remembrance has occupied the hearts and minds of many Tuscaloosa County residents since the death of officer Dornell Cousette struck the county. But, as one must, the community learns to remember, heal and move on. Here are just a few ways different schools, organizations and communities are coming together to grieve. 

SUPPORT FROM SCHOOLS

Reporting by WVUA 23’s Amanda Hull

Students, faculty and administrators within the Tuscaloosa County School System showed their support for fallen Tuscaloosa Police Department officer Dornell Cousette this week.

Students and faculty at Crestmont Elementary School and Buhl Elementary School filled the halls with blue clothing and ribbons as a visual reminder of their condolences to Cousette, who died last week in the line of duty. Crestmont principal Lucretia Prince said making sure students know why they are wearing blue is crucial.

“We just wanted to come together to let our students know what an awesome man he was not only for our school but for our community,” Prince said. “The students and the parents got right on board in order to honor such an awesome and a phenomenal man.”

Students at Buhl Elementary honored their school resource officer, Matthew Roland, by giving him cards and gifts to show their appreciation for keeping them safe. In the wake of a tragedy such as this, Prince reaffirmed that coming together as a community to show love to Cousette’s family, other police officers and each other is what demonstrations like these are all about.

“We always have things at our school that honor our police officers and I think this was another opportunity that students understand the importance of the role that the police officers have within this community,” Prince said. “And we just want his fiancee and kids to know that we honor him and the service that he gave to our school system and, most importantly, our community.”

<hr><h4>RIBBONS TO REMEMBER</h4><p>Reporting by WVUA 23’s Libbi Farrow</p><p>Tuscaloosa and neighboring communities continue to show their blue for law enforcement and Officer Dornell Cousette, but one neighborhood continued that effort in a unique way.</p><p>Three years ago a group of neighbors in Grand Pointe started making blue ribbons in honor and respect for those in law enforcement. After the recent Tuscaloosa Tragedy, they decided it was time to bring back the blue ribbons.</p><p>Casey Johnson, creator of “Show Your Blue Northport,” said the group has sold over 450 ribbons in the last week.</p><p>“Our main goal is for our law enforcement to be able to ride down the streets of Northport and see these bows and know not only are we supportive of them, but we are supportive of their families as well and the sacrifices that they make everyday,” she said.</p><p>At Grand Pointe, many neighbors are placing the ribbons on their mailboxes to show local law enforcement their appreciation. All the profits, from the bows, will go to something that will help and benefit the community.</p><p>Three years ago, the group supplied Northport Police with tactical shields. Andy Norris, HOA president at Grand Pointe, says this is a great way to show law enforcement the community cares.</p><p>“People need to realize that just saying ‘Hi’ to that officer and thanking him, and even if it is just, ‘Thank you for your service’ or just acknowledge them,” Norris said.</p><p>Show Your Blue Northport is selling the ribbons to be placed on mailboxes in honor of Cousette. You can purchase a ribbon by checking out their <a href=”https://www.facebook.com/ShowYourBlueNorthport/”>Facebook page.</a></p><hr><h4>FUNDS FOR THE FAMILY</h4><p>There’s been a tremendous amount of love and support coming from the Tuscaloosa community for fallen police investigator Dornell Cousette and his family.</p><p>There are already several fundraising efforts under way for Cousette’s daughters, but now students are supporting their classmates who are suddenly without a father. One of those daughters belongs to her school’s volleyball team, and the team itself has begun taking up money to help support them.</p><p>In just one day, the teams raised more than $700.</p><p>“It was pretty sad to find out about it, because me and (Cousette’s daughter) have been friends since first or second grade,” said volleyball team member Maggie Hooper.</p><p>Teacher and coach Candace Baker said giving back is a great way to show how much they care for their own.</p><p>“Our message is that we love you and we’re here for you, and we’re here to help in whatever way we can,” she said. “This collecting some money is just a little way that we can show that we’re here to help.”</p><hr><h4><strong>CONTINUING TO PROTECT AND SERVE</strong></h4><p>Reporting by WVUA 23’s Chelsea Barton</p><p>When Lt. Chris James and Sgt. Brian Canterbury of the Tuscaloosa Police Department arrived at Imagination Station Child Development Center on Thursday morning, they were greeted by students who were ready to show them support and love after a trying week.</p><p>James and Canterbury were visiting Imagination Station as a part of the center’s annual Community Helper’s Week, which allows students to interact with people serving important jobs in the Tuscaloosa community. But the visit took on an added sense of importance after James and Canterbury lost a brother in the line of duty earlier this week when Officer Dornell Cousette was killed in the line of duty.</p><p>The children greeted the officers while wearing blue and holding up signs with supportive messages.</p><p>“They are little and while they don’t understand everything, they really do grasp more than we can see,” said Courtney Christian, the administrative assistant at Imagination Station. “So the fact that we have people who are teaching these kids that these officers are here for us and protect us, it’s amazing to see their unconditional love for them.”</p><p>The officers arrived at Imagination Station in a police helicopter.</p>

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