It was a day to honor and remember Buffalo Police Officer Patricia Parete as family, friends and colleagues gathered Wednesday to say their final goodbyes. Parete was shot while responding to a call in December of 2006 which left her paralyzed from the neck down. She passed away Saturday morning at the age of 48. YNN's Kaitlyn Lionti was at Trinity Episcopal Church in Buffalo for a Service of Thanksgiving for Parete's life.
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- "While we are surrounded by grief and sadness and even anger, this is a place where we're going to make room to touch our gratitude and to touch our thanksgiving, which, will eventually lead to healing," said Rev. Cameron Miller, rector at Trinity Episcopal Church.
It was gratitude and love that brought hundreds of people to Trinity Episcopal Church and overflow crowds to the Adam's Mark Hotel to celebrate the life of fallen Buffalo Police Officer Patricia Parete Wednesday.
"Everyone in the city of Buffalo is a family, the family is saddened today. This is a day of loss, of mourning, said Byron Brown, Mayor of Buffalo.
Brown spoke during the service, assuring Parete's family they're surrounded by people who care. He says her death is a reminder that being a police officer isn't just another job, but a higher calling.
Officers from several agencies came out to pay their respects, including Parete's partner, Officer Carl Andolina, who was also shot that night.
The mayor says the Buffalo Police Department will be forever proud to call her one of their own.
"The way she inspired people, the way she lifted people up, her strength, her grace, her perseverance is certainly what I remember. Someone that really touched lives," said Brown.
Parete's friend and coworker, Officer Daniel Meegan, described her as a breath of fresh air with quite a sense of humor.
He spoke of the day she was shot, how everyone prayed for a miracle that she would recover and says a strong support system started there in the hospital and continued through the years as she faced the challenges caused by her injury.
Parete's doctor and friend, Christopher Kerr, says it never diminished her and she had a fierce determination, but was as tender as she was tough.
Someone else spoke on behalf of a friend who lived with Parete. She thanked everyone for their support and thanked Parete for being the bravest person she's ever known.
All who shared memories of Parete say she was constantly surrounded by caregivers and loved ones, and was cherished until the end.
"The outpouring of love is just unbelievable from across the state, the nation, I had somebody contact me from Vermont saying they were offering prayers for her. So I think that's the message, is the incredible swell of love and concern from people who didn't know her and who care very much about our first responders and those who protect us and care for us," said Miller.
And Officer Parete will always be remembered by the city she paid the ultimate price to protect.