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Nonprofit helps plan funeral for second deputy killed within a month

ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. -- The same group that planned Douglas County sheriff's deputy Zackari Parrish’s funeral is helping Adams County pay tribute to fallen deputy Heath Gumm.

The Colorado Fallen Hero Foundation stepped up immediately and offered to help the Adams County Sheriff’s Office.

The nonprofit group started in Colorado a year and a half ago and is designed to plan and provide the most respectful service to honor a fallen hero.

“When officer goes down in the line of duty, doesn’t matter where it is, we are deeply affected," foundation president and Aurora Police Department Capt. Steve Redfearn said. "Our families are deeply affected because we know it could’ve been us.

"One of the things we’ve said and we’ve said it in here this week, we get one chance to get this right and our goal is to be able as a group to come into whatever agency’s been affected by this tragedy and make sure are honoring their fallen officer.”

From planning to logistics to security and finances, the group of volunteers went to work right away.

“Some are using vacation time from their agencies," Redfearn said. "They could be on a beach somewhere, but they’ve chose to use their time to come here to honor deputy Gumm.”

No detail is overlooked. The group has people from 30 agencies working together.

They are from law enforcement, emergency services and the civilian sector such as funeral directors. Before they make any decision, a liaison is in contact with the family to make sure their wishes are met.

This is not an easy task. Some of these people are working 14- to 16-hour days. But it is a labor of love.

“Our goal is for the family to see how important their loved one was," Redfearn said. "We have to make sure we are properly honoring our men and women of law enforcement, for us there’s no greater sacrifice.”

Redfearn said there will be similarities during Friday's services for Gumm to Parrish’s funeral, including law enforcement traditions.

But he also said each agency and each family is different, so their customs will be included as well.

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