JOHNSTOWN, Colo. -- A Johnstown police officer was the victim of a drowning at Horsetooth Reservoir on Monday.
An officer says Yuri Thomas was at the reservoir with his wife, went in the water and never resurfaced.
Thomas joined the force in Johnstown in February and leaves behind a wife.
“He was in a happy point in his life," Thomas' wife Nola Thomas said. “He always had from childhood, a dream, of being a police officer, so when he acquired that I was so happy for him.
“When he put that uniform on, he’s like a proud peacock. You could see the satisfaction."
Thomas was born on St. Vincent, an island in the Caribbean.
“For somebody who didn’t even have an education, was determined, somebody who went from sleeping on a floor on a table, to having his own home, a home like this," Nola Thomas said.
She says her husband was proud to be an American citizen.
That pride was on display outside their Johnstown home and at Thomas' desk at the police station. His workspace now has a flag over it.
"He’s the type of officer that would come to work early, and you would have to tell him to go home because he loved being here so much," said Aaron Sanchez with the Johnstown Police Department.
As officers honored their brother on the inside of the police station, the community honored Thomas on the outside. Flowers and candles now sit along a patrol car.
"We are taking what we learned from Yuri in the time that he was here with his gentle spirit, his kind words, his patience, and we’re going to be better because he was in our lives," Sanchez said.
Thomas moved to Colorado with his wife on a leap of faith. Originally from the Caribbean, the couple calls New York home and has no family in the state.
A GoFundMe page has been established to Thomas' family.AlertMe