INDIANAPOLIS - This week, the squad car of IMPD Officer Perry Renn has served as a memorial, a place to pay tribute and say thank you to a man who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Less than 48 hours after his death, Jason and Jennifer Fedeler knew they had to do something to show their support for the fallen officer.
"I woke up, and I was like, 'I really think we should go there,'" Jennifer said. "We were talking about going, but we were like, 'Is it appropriate to take her? Is it not?'"
Ultimately, the pair decided to bring their 3-year-old daughter to pay their respects.
"I took her to her toy room – she has a huge collection of stuffed animals," Jennifer said. "I said, 'Mackenzie, pick out your favorite teddy bear.'"
Mackenzie picked out a plain brown bear that her parents had given her as a baby, and on Monday, clutching her mother's hand, Mackenzie gave the stuffed animal away.
"I felt like it was a chance to teach her a lesson in life, that these men and women lay everything out there on the line for us. They don't even know us," Jason said.
On Friday, the family joined many others to line the streets for Renn's funeral procession.
Around 4:15 p.m. in the afternoon, one of the cars in that procession pulled into their driveway.
"The first thought was, uh oh, what's going on?" Jason said. "So we both went into the driveway."
There, they found IMPD Officer Lance Rector.
"He explained to us why he was here, that he had seen Mackenzie's story on the news, on Facebook, and it really touched him; it meant something to him," Jennifer said. "And he just wanted to show his appreciation from him and the IMPD."
Rector didn't come empty-handed, either.
"He brought her his favorite teddy bear that meant something to him, and also a patch badge off of his old uniform," Jennifer said.
Rector also brought a white carnation from the funeral and a special memorial coin.
"When you go out of your way to recognize things, and you go out of your way to show appreciation, it comes back to you," Jason said.
Mackenzie's parents said the 3-year-old won't be the only one who will learn something from the experience.
Her dad, Jason, is a sergeant for the Indiana Department of Corrections. He said he's working toward becoming a patrol officer, and people like Officer Rector motivate him to achieve that goal.
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