PAY IT FORWARD
When tragedy hits a small town in middle American, one of two things typically happens: Folks will either pull together for the good of all or they will divide themselves in anger. There's no question the route Gothenburg people have chosen to take following the heartbreaking death of our Officer Jill Larson McCandless.
There isn't a person in this community that hasn't been affected by Officer 071. Jill grew up here, she raised her children here, she worked here and she served here. She knew the kids and visited both Dudley Elementary and Gothenburg High School frequently. She new the adults and where everyone lives and works, calling nearly everyone she came in contact with by name. She knew the senior citizens, checking on those who live alone and never hesitating to offer a helping hand.
Whether you drove a little too quickly up Lake Avenue and had to chat with her in that professional capacity or you saw her in the grocery store aisle after a shift, Jill offered a smile, a hello and a huge heart.
Jill was highly respected as an officer, often referred to as one of the best Gothenburg has ever had. She also earned a tremendous amount of respect as a daughter, mother, grandmother and friend. She exemplified "The Gothenburg Way," and that shows through the number of lovely tributes that have been offered to her this week.
Jill's death leaves an incredible hole in our community. If there's one thing we can all do to honor Officer 071, it is to give each other the same kind of compassion and respect Jill modeled for us every day.
Rest in peace Officer 071.
Funeral services for Jill will be in the north gym at Gothenburg Public Schools at 10 am on Saturday, June 15.
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is the Executive Director of the Community Development Office, which encompasses the Gothenburg Chamber of Commerce and the Gothenburg Improvement Company.