Sunday was the one-year anniversary of the loss of two Palm Springs Police Officers. One year later, the pain is still fresh for the community.
Sunday morning community members, members of multiple law enforcement agencies and public officials stood together as the Palm Springs Police Officer’s Association added two more names to their memorial outside Palm Springs police headquarters.
The names of Jose “Gil” Vega, a veteran officer months away from retirement, and Lesley Zerebny, a rookie officer just off maternity leave, were added to the memorial.
Family and friends stood up to speak about the lives lost on October 8, 2016.
“A year later we must try not to remember Gil and Lesley with sadness and with tears,” said Palms Springs Police Chief Bryan Reyes. “When you are walking down the street, you have them on your mind. They are walking in your footsteps only a half step behind.”
“The last message he ever sent was ‘You’re beautiful’ and ‘I love you.’ And he’s a really tough guy,” said Vega’s young daughter Vanessa Vega.
“When she had that beautiful little baby, her heart just melted,” said Zerebny’s father, David Kling. “She completely and totally got in touch with the tender side inside of her. She loved Cora more than anything, as she loved Zack. They had a storybook relationship. They loved each other with all their hearts and they were best friends.”
At the Palm Springs Visitors’ Center, a four-mile stretch of Highway 111 was dedicated to officers Vega and Zerebny. The dedication runs from Windy Point to West San Rafael Dr. Mayor Robert Moon stood up to speak.
“It will be a daily reminder to all of us of the fact that out police officers are on duty putting their boots on every morning, stepping up to the plate and going out there to protect the residents and the millions of visitors that come to Palm Springs,” said Mayor Moon.
Hundreds attended the two memorial ceremonies.