‘Our family will never be the same’: Herrera’s family writes a letter to the community
“The Herrera family wishes to thank the Lincoln community for their thoughts and prayers over the last two weeks. Thousands gave blood, made financial contributions, and showed up in support and hope for his recovery. We watched as everyone reverently witnessed Mario’s procession from Omaha to Lincoln and attended vigils in his memory. The outpouring of support bears witness to Mario’s impact on so many people in the Lincoln community and beyond. Our gratitude for these gestures is inexpressible, and we are blessed to live in such a supportive community.
Law enforcement families know that our loved ones could be called to make the ultimate sacrifice at any time. Unconsciously, we feel this tremor of a possibility every day, yet nothing can prepare us for when that earthquake actually strikes. Even though we understood that Mario could die in the line of duty, the experience has still shattered us. We are fortunate to have a strong, faithful family who joined together to face this tragedy. Yet the death of a police officer fractures not only a family and a police department, but a community as well. The overwhelming support from the Lincoln community is a testament to what Mario meant to Lincoln residents.
In the days after the shooting, we remained optimistic that Mario would recover and return to us as a husband and a father. When it became clear that it was not God’s will, we felt our church community lifting us in prayer. When we felt weak, they filled us with strength and courage. We could have never imagined the outpouring of support we would see across Nebraska and the country. The sheer number of blood donations that were given the day following Mario’s shooting was astounding. We knew right then that Mario’s reach was far greater than we had ever imagined.
Mario was, at heart, a servant in every aspect of his life. He served his country in the U.S. Army. He served his state with the Nebraska State Patrol. He served his community as police investigator with the Lincoln Police Department. Every day, Mario poured himself into the service of his family, friends, neighbors, and community. He was profoundly committed to his family, his faith, and his profession. We felt the strength of the bonds that he created holding us together while we grieved for him.
Mario’s legacy is one of self-sacrifice, humility, and kindness, the key traits of any family man, public servant, and community pillar. Many have asked what made Mario so special and how he was able to reach so many lives. Mario was there for anyone that needed help. He was patient and understanding no matter what road you were on. His smile and light-hearted jokes were trademarks that he will be remembered for. On September 7, 2020, we did not simply lose a family member—we lost part of our family’s heart. Life without Mario leaves a hole that can never be filled, and our family will never be the same.
Thank you for allowing us the privacy to grieve our beloved Mario as a family. We know that we are not struggling with this loss alone. We are surrounded by our family and friends, comforted by our faith, and embraced by the entire Lincoln community. We know Mario’s spirit of service and sacrifice will live on in the heart of every Lincoln police officer.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9 “