Contributor Post Created with Sketch. A Graduation to Remember


Tatum Raetz’ daddy couldn’t make it to her kindergarten graduation. So hundreds of her adoptive daddies did.

Her father, Phoenix Police Officer Daryl Raetz, was struck down in the line of duty over the weekend. While investigating a possible DUI, another driver killed him and fled the scene.

As his daughter Tatum drove up to her elementary school, she learned that she had a bigger family than she ever imagined:

Because her father couldn’t be there, her Phoenix Police Department family showed up to stand in his stead and celebrate Tatum.

“She had 300, 400 parents up here for her this morning,” Officer James Holmes said. “It was absolutely amazing. It was bittersweet and it was a bit overwhelming for all of us.”

Officers lined the sidewalk clapping for Tatum and congratulating her as she and her mother walked into the school for the graduation ceremony. Inside the auditorium, it was standing room only with a sea of blue in the back and along the side of the room.

God bless Officer Raetz and God bless his little girl.

(Photo courtesy Tess Rafols, KTVK-TV.)

There are 10 comments.

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  1. ctlaw Coolidge

    The apparent killer (vehicle owner) has been identified as an illegal alien (aka, an Obama “dreamer”). Perhaps the stopped DUI was also:

    Police say Jesus Cabrera Molina admitted to being in the country illegally and he had a small bag of white powder which tested positive for cocaine.”

    • #1
    • May 22, 2013, at 11:42 AM PDT
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  2. HeartofFLA Inactive

    Just when I get depressed by all of the woes that face us and think we have sunk to depths not previously met, along comes something like this gesture. It lifts me up and restores my faith. Thanks for posting this.

    • #2
    • May 23, 2013, at 1:11 AM PDT
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  3. tabula rasa Member
    tabula rasaJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Just when I get completely cynical someone posts something like this. I even have a granddaughter named Tatum.

    Way to go, Jon, you’ve revived some of my faith in human beings.

    • #3
    • May 23, 2013, at 2:38 AM PDT
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  4. Umbra Fractus Inactive
    Umbra FractusJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    @John Gabriel #5(Why can’t I quote?):

    My brother had a pre-school graduation way back in 1985. He didn’t want to wear his cap and gown because he thought it was a dress.

    • #4
    • May 23, 2013, at 4:35 AM PDT
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  5. Profile Photo Member

    The same day that Officer Raetz was killed, a Phoenix firefighter died in a work-related accident. Thankfully, the community has really stepped up to help both families.

    • #5
    • May 23, 2013, at 6:47 AM PDT
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  6. David Carroll Thatcher
    David CarrollJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Good for the fellow officers, making the event memorable for the poor child.

    But I gotta ask: Since when do we have ceremonies for graduation from kindergarten? And why?

    • #6
    • May 23, 2013, at 12:01 PM PDT
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  7. DrewInEastHillQuarantineZone Coolidge

    My eyes are leaking all over. Sorry.

    • #7
    • May 23, 2013, at 12:01 PM PDT
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  8. Crow's Nest Inactive

    I can’t like this enough.

    • #8
    • May 23, 2013, at 12:03 PM PDT
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  9. Profile Photo Member


    We even have preschool graduations now. My daughter’s GPA was a smiley face.

    • #9
    • May 23, 2013, at 12:07 PM PDT
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  10. John Davey Member
    John DaveyJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    My former neighbor in El Dorado County, Sacramento Deputy Sheriff Jeff Mitchell was killed with his own handgun in October 2006 after stopping a suspicious vehicle in the rural part of the county. The crime still is unsolved to this day. But the thing that tears me up, even now, almost 7 years later, is the thought of of his then 6 year old son going forward without his Dad. We filled a baseball stadium at Jeff’s memorial, and I couldn’t take my eyes off that little boy. While I know other Deputies & neighbors have helped the family in the years that followed, I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed a more humbling scene than what these good men & women from the Phoenix PD did for that young lady.

    Bless them all. 

    • #10
    • May 23, 2013, at 12:28 PM PDT
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