AMERICUS, GA (WALB) - Saturday marked exactly one month since two police officers in Americus were shot and killed responding to a domestic call.
The city came together Saturday to show its appreciation for the sacrifices GSW Officer Jody Smith and Americus Police Officer Nick Smarr made that fateful day.
"We wish we had them back," said Johnny O. Smith, Officer Jody Smith's father.
He and other family members of both officers gathered together with community members to celebrate the lives of their loved ones lost one month ago in the line of duty.
Johnny O. Smith said the celebration showed him how much people appreciate his son's sacrifice.
"It makes me swell up with pride that I had a son that people loved as much as they did," he said at Saturday's event, hosted by the Facebook group "Prayers for Americus."
The group, made up of several friends of Officer Smarr's girlfriend, started making t-shirts in memory of the officers a couple days after their deaths.
"I'm glad that our community decided to react the way that they did instead of react in a negative way," said Jessica Knights, who organized the event.
"Prayers for Americus" aimed to donate all the money raised from the t-shirts to the officers' families in their time of mourning.
At the event, community members came out in full force wearing their t-shirts to show their gratitude.
"We're doing this as a time for the community just to come and spend time with the families, tell them they love them, and show them that Nick and Jody were loved and that we support them," Knights said.
For the officers' families, that's exactly what the event did: remind them of how their heroes lived and died.
"A father especially raises up his son and usually the father is the son's hero. Whoever knew that I was raising a hero," said Johnny O. Smith.
Capping off the event was a balloon release, providing an opportunity for those who loved the officers to send off their messages and memories to the heroes who gave their all for their city.
"I feel like we're stronger as a community," Knights said. "I feel like we know that if we need each other, we're here."
The group donated more than $20,000 total to the families of Officers Smith and Smarr.