Widow: Slain officer lived & died without regret

Posted at 8:20 PM, Dec 04, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-04 22:20:06-05

Thousands of people -- friends, family members, and law enforcement colleagues -- packed a church in Colorado Springs to honor the life of Garrett Swasey, the campus police officer killed in last week's Planned Parenthood attack.

"I'm proud to say my name is Rachel Swasey. My husband gave me the immeasurably precious gift of his last name," Rachel Swasey, his widow, starts.

"I have been more overwhelmed this week by love than by sadness," she reassures the packed auditorium at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs. "Your kindness is an amazing gift to me."

Swasey said her husband died sacrificing himself.

"The love of my life gave his life without regret, to be sure others would live," Rachel Swasey said. "My husband lived out his belief in a god who rescues. It was a choice he made each day of his policing career and each time he taught at  church."

She said her husband's legacy can be summed up in two words -- Elijah and Faith -- the name of their son and daughter.

"He left two words for this world. He chose these two words long before he died. They are his legacy. Our first born son is named Elijah and his name means the Lord is God .. Faith means an assurance of things unseen. These two words - Faith and Elijah - they point to all that my husband had to say to this world," Rachel Swasey said.

Hundreds of officers in uniform attended the funeral service, where Swasey was remembered and honored as a stubborn, fun-loving, spiritual human being.  He worked at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, and rushed to the health clinic to help after the gunman opened fire last Friday.

Gov. John Hickenlooper told Swasey's two young children that Colorado is a better place for what their father did and encouraged everyone to follow Swasey's example and "give more than we take."

"His sacrifice has forever altered everyone here," Hickenlooper said. "I'm proud to live in a state where people like Garrett Swasey work."

Swasey was born in Massachusetts but lived in Colorado Springs for years.  He was an ice skater and originally moved to Colorado Springs to train at the Broadmoor Skating Club, while living at the Olympic Training Center. He was named a junior ice dance champion in 1992.

He was also a co-pastor at Hope Chapel, an evangelical church in Colorado Springs. 

The funeral was followed by a procession to the cemetery.