Officer Jeff Shelton’s Funeral

[Original coverage from April 2007]

CHARLOTTE, NC — People once again returned to Calvary Church today, coming to honor Officer Jeff Shelton.

The crowd stood up as his coffin was carried down the aisle… saluted the job he had done, his wife and family followed.

Bill Fogarty, Pastor of First Baptist Church of Weddington said, “We have experienced incredible tragedy in this last week. But we are not here to focus on tragedy. We are here today to celebrate victory.”

This service was a celebration of Officer Shelton’s life. How he chose to live his life, the uniform he chose to wear, and the job he loved to do.

“He was passionate about his calling, not his job, his calling,” said Pastor Raymond Johns.

Officer Gabriel Chickery with CMPD said, “He always displayed a lot of pride in being an officer and doing the right thing simply because it was the right thing to do.”

Today we learned more about the man who wore the uniform, the man behind the badge. Today we met the people that he loved, and the lives that he had touched.

“Jennifer lost the love of her life,” said Officer John Rainer with Rock Hill Police. “The shelton/Spark family lost a son and sibling. The police community lost a brother. The citizens of Charlotte lost a hero. and I lost a great friend.”

There was laughter and tears… and comfort found today.

Pastor Fogarty said, “It’s an indication that we care about one another. That love is a part of our lives.”

As the coffin was carried out into a sea of blue, the procession began. All along the way people once again lined the streets. People who never knew him, but whose lives have been touched just the same.

“These officers are our heroes,” said Dana Bennett
Janay Mack said, “They help us when we need help,” and Dillon Rayner said, “I just want to come to respect the fallen officers and all the officers in this community because they put their lives on the line everyday for us and I think it’s important to respect that.”

The procession ended at the grave site where others carried Officer Shelton to his final resting place.

A husband, a son, a friend, a NASCAR fan, an outdoorsman, a dog lover, and a former Marine. Today we remember Officer Jeff Shelton for all that he was… a hero.