LOOKING BACK: Fallen officer Herrera honored by community

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — “It’s a sad day, but in a way, it’s a celebration of Mario’s life,” said Jerry Wolf.

Thousands gathered on nearly every street corner in Lincoln to pay their respects to the fallen officer, Investigator Mario Herrera. With a river of flashing blue and red, his pre-funeral procession moved from Butherus-Maser & Love Funeral Home, 4040 A St, to Pinnacle Bank Arena (PBA), 400 Pinnacle Arena Drive, as law enforcement from across Nebraska and beyond had the honor of ushering Herrera tp his service.

Boy Scouts joined the crowd, looking onward as the officer’s hearse rolls by.

“We want to pay our respects and tell the policeman we’re just kinda thankful for everything that they do,” said one scout.

From kids to grandparents, people lined the streets, saluting the officer goodbye with flags.

“We wanted to come out and honor him and his family, that’s the reason we are here.”

But, honoring Herrera didn’t just come from the community of Lincoln, or even Nebraska. It came from law enforcement agencies in Kansas, South Dakota and Iowa.

“We wanted to pay our respects to investigator Mario Herrera and his family, he gave the ultimate sacrifice to his citizens and his community, we think it’s only fitting to pay our respect,” said Laurie with the Iowa Police Department.

And that they did. Even when the procession arrived at PBA, community members sat in on Herrera’s funeral service, both in-person and virtually.

From the choir to a flood of police officers attending from in and out of state, Herrera was honored in so many ways at his funeral service. It began around 10 am on Saturday.
“Lord, where were you? This was a question posed to Jesus when he didn’t save from death, this is what his closest friends, Lazarus, and admittedly this question is Mario’s wife, children, brothers, sisters, relatives and friends has been asked of Jesus. Lord where were you? And yet like Jesus as he wept and his friends death we are all weeping.”
In the arena, family members and prominent community leaders took the time to reflect on the Life of Mario Herrera.
His brother, Francisco spoke directly to the officers and military members who served alongside Mario.
“Mario was your brother he was one of you, he was my brother, but it’s not the same thing. Not all of us could belong and he belonged with you. Thank you so much.”
Even Lincoln Police Chief Jeff Bliemeister, who is currently quarantining after testing positive for COVID-19, took the time to speak to the family via video.
“My words will never adequately express what Mario Herrera meant to our departments and our community we will never forget his strength his resolve and his fight. And we will never forget this sacrifice, each of yours. Mario’s memory will live on in every action of every Lincoln police officer who protects the vulnerable render aid to the injured consul the afflicted and comfort the frightened.”
While Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts says Herrera represented what a true American is.
‘Mario represents everything that is good and true and right about our country. Exemplifies what is to be a man be a hero and to protect others. In fact, when he was in the academy for Nebraska state patrol his colleagues would talk about how he wanted to make a difference in this world and protect those who could not protect themselves.”
But, one of Mario’s older brothers summed up his family’s grief with this heartbreaking line.
“I just thought this is nice. We don’t have the anxieties of practices, and lunches, and school, and homework anymore. We can just start to spend more time together share a drink on the porch, be old together. That we had turned a page. But, it was the last page and so much has been stolen from us.”
Following the service, motorcycles revved their engines, leading the post-funeral procession towards his final resting place, Calvary Cemetery.
“He was just the epitome of a really good police officer, and just a really good person.”
Inda Duba was one of many waiting at the cemetery gates to give the fallen officer a final send-off. Duba worked as a nurse at CHI Health St. Elizabeth, where Herrera spent over two decades as a security guard.

“He was great. He always had a smile on his face. He was always quick to help the nurses. If we had somebody unruly who was threatening us, he always came running,” said Duba.

whether it was in the church, in his home, or while he was serving the public, Herrera has left an incredible impact on the city of Lincoln and beyond.

hundreds of police cruisers from all across Nebraska and neighboring states made their way to the capitol city to say their goodbyes to the fallen officer.

MARK TRAYNOWICZ:

“I saw a number from Missouri, and Iowa, and South Dakota. just to see how much of a family, and as much of a team that the law enforcement officers are is really amazing.”

many supporters believe this is what Herrera would have wanted.

people coming together as a community.

“I’m just really proud our entire community of lincoln, and I just really wanted to be a part of that to show support for his family.”

for many, it’s something they’ll never forget.

“The support of the community and all the other law enforcement. it was really impressive, and really heartfelt the whole day.

Categories: Lancaster, Nebraska News