LONGMONT, Colo. -- Longmont High School honored one of its alum, Deputy Jeff Pelle, between basketball games on Saturday to show their gratitude for his service following the deadly ambush on New Year's Eve.
Deputy Pelle was one of three deputies and a police officer injured when they responded to a disturbance in Douglas County on the morning of New Year's Eve. Pelle's comrade Zackari Parrish was shot and killed by the gunman.
Deputy Pelle graduated from Longmont High School in 2004. He played on the football team and basketball team. His coach, Jeff Kloster, still coaches the team and takes pride in knowing Pelle.
"Jeff Pelle needs to be recognized and he needs to know there is love and support in this community," said Kloster.
The school honored Pelle during a ceremony between basketball games on Saturday. The crowd gave him a standing ovation has Pelle was handed a signed basketball from the school and flowers to his wife.
"I have his back. Longmont has his back. And we’re always here for him if he ever needs us," said senior William Preuss.
Kloster says Pelle was an excellent role model on the team, and continues to set an example for the community.
"He had that great toughness," said Kloster. "The thing that I came away with was the loyalty, and the hard work that he always brought."
Pelle did not want to do an interview, but sent this statement about the tribute.
"I graduated from Longmont High School in 2004 so when Coach Kloster contacted me and said they wanted to recognize me, I was thrilled and felt very honored. I played for both Coach Kloster and Coach Johnson – they were both a huge influence in my life. I wanted to come here to see them and be with my family, so this is very exciting."