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I Didn't Want To Have Kids... Then I Met Police Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
May 15, 2024 3:03 am

I Didn't Want To Have Kids... Then I Met Police Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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May 15, 2024 3:03 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, for National Police Week, Favi Gutzwiller’s powerful eulogy to her husband who was killed in the line of duty.

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The voice of NASCAR, the motor racing network. And we continue with our American stories and with our storytelling for National Police Week, which honors those who paid the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives in the line of duty. And today we honor Damon Gutzwiller, a sergeant with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office. On June 6, 2020, Sergeant Gutzwiller responded to reports of a vehicle that contained bomb making materials and guns and was shot and killed by the suspect. And now we go to his courageous widow, Favi, and her eulogy to her husband that was delivered only 11 days after he was killed.

And only weeks before she would give birth to their second child. Have you ever tried describing something incredibly beautiful to someone who has never seen it? Using just your words to describe something so remarkably special to someone who has never experienced it. Some things are too big, too beautiful to describe, and a picture will never do it justice.

That's how it is with Damon. I wish you all had the pleasure of knowing him. Instead, I can try to show you a few pictures, pieces of him, and hope you'll understand that he was so much more than these few short stories. On our first date, he brought ice cream over to my house and we watched the movie 300.

You know the one about the 300 half-naked greased up Spartan soldiers battling an invading army of 300,000? Very romantic. On that first night, Damon was very respectful, or maybe just scared. He sat on the opposite side of the couch at least three feet away from me the whole night.

It's a little thing, but it stays with me. As I quickly learned, it was part of who he was. He was always kind, loving, and respectful. Never so much as raising his voice at me.

Never. If you know anything about me, you know that was extremely difficult to ask. From the start, he was always thinking about me, putting me first and making sure that I was okay.

He wasn't like anyone I'd ever met before. Just a few weeks into our relationship, I had a horrible night at work. I'm a neonatal ICU nurse. A baby had passed, I had worked 16 hours, and was beyond emotionally and physically exhausted when I got home. As I walked up to my door, I saw a cooler. Inside was a note from Damon. He told me that he knew I had a terrible night at work, that he was thinking about me, and he didn't want to bother. He also wanted to make sure I had food when I got home and dinner for that night before I returned to work. So he brought me lunch and made me dinner and left it at the door for me.

We'd only known each other for weeks. I didn't know that someone could really be that kind. He was an only child raised by his mom, Vicki. Vicki did a great job of raising this man. He was who he was because of her. And just like she took care of him when he was little, he took care of her as she got older.

As her health has declined, he was by her side at every doctor's appointment, driving her from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Lately, she needed more care, and he invited her to come live with us, Damon taking on most of her needs and care. I knew from the beginning of our relationship he wanted to have children. When we met, we were both in our early 30s, and early on I told him, I don't think I want to have kids.

I think I should tell you that because I don't want to waste your time. He said that he didn't know what the future would hold, and he'd like to get to know me better. As I grew to know and love him, I wanted to have children with him. I wanted to have children because he would be their father. I would want that for any child.

I wanted it for me and for the children we would have together. We had Carter a little over two years ago. Damon was ecstatic.

You hear complaints about husbands not doing their share of taking care of the kids. That was not a problem with Damon. He was the one who would get up early with Carter, feed him breakfast, play with him until I woke up. I'm about to have our second child, and while I've been pregnant, Damon has been even more attentive, sending me off to take naps and get some rest every day while he takes care of Carter. I knew he would be a great father, and for a short time I was able to see he wasn't just a great father. He was amazing. He was so good with Carter. They ran around, sang songs, danced, played with Legos, built puzzles, dug in the dirt for hours, had tea parties. For his birthday last month, Carter got a little scooter.

Damon got himself one too and said, I just can't wait to have father-son scooter rides. They were only able to have one. There's a tradition in Wales that goes back hundreds of years of carving a love spoon from a single block of wood. A young man would carve a love spoon and give it to a girl to express what was in his heart.

If she accepted it, it meant she felt the same way. The spoon would have symbols carved into it, each with a different meaning. I didn't know any of this until Damon made me a love spoon for Valentine's Day. Damon wrote me a note explaining the meaning of the symbols he had carved.

Here's some of what he wrote. An anchor, settled love, eternal devotion, and security. Heart, true love. The carver's heart belongs to his love, his loved one. Keyhole, security. I shall look after you and protect you.

Spade, a promise to work and provide for you. This is the man that I am missing, who Carter is missing, and who our new baby will never meet. This is the man our whole community is missing. Or rather, these are just a few stories of who he was. I hope you can imagine what the whole man was like. What life with him was like. I was there. I saw it. I lived it. It was wonderful. When I look at our son, he reminds me of Damon in many different ways.

From his long eyelashes, to his nose, to his silly personality, and the goofy grins he makes just like Damon used to. I can only hope that our children will grow up to be just like their father. Kind, loving, compassionate, honest, hardworking, and all around wonderful people. I pray for the strength to raise the amazing children he would have raised. I want to say thank you from my heart to all of the people who helped me.

Our child and the child about to arrive. Thank you to my family who loved Damon so much and made sure he knew he was a loved member of our family. Thank you to my friends who have been with me at so many of the best times of my life and who are with me now at the worst, as true friends are. Thank you to our community, the community that Damon loved so much.

And died defending. Your outpouring of support and love has been overwhelming. Thank you to the people across the country, people I may never meet, who have offered their support and love. And thank you to the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office for everything they have done and are doing. Receiving so much love. I do feel like Damon is here with me today. I think he's here now and I hope he always will be. I know that I will carry him with me in my heart and through our children forever.

Thank you again. And a special thanks to Alex Cortez for bringing us that story. And a profound thanks to Favie Gutswiller for sharing on such short notice. I mean, talk about some courage to get up there only weeks after really a murder like this. It's a murder, right? When a suspect shoots a police officer responding to a crime, that's what it is, folks. Killed in the line of duty and as his bride so well put it, the community Damon loved so much and died defending.

This is the man our whole community is missing, his bride said. Killed in the line of duty on June 6, 2020. Responding to reports of a vehicle that contained bomb making materials and guns. Killed by the suspect. All week long we're honoring all of the men and women who died in uniform protecting and defending all of our communities.

National Police Week. The story of Sergeant Damon Gutswiller. His bride's story. His children's story.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-15 04:51:38 / 2024-05-15 04:56:33 / 5

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