FRESNO, Calif. - Less than 10 miles from the Minkler Memorial honoring two fallen law enforcement officers, a community is keeping their promise to never forget.
It's been seven years since the Reedley Police Department lost one of their own, officer Javier Bejar.
"Every time I see the American flag I think of him," Reedley Police Chief Joe Garza said. "He was a Marine. He served his country, and he served this department. He served his community."
At just 28 years old, Bejar was killed in a shootout with an arson suspect in Minkler along with Fresno County Sheriff's Deputy Joel Wahlenmaier.
Bejar was the first Reedley police officer killed in the department's 100-year history. Garza, along with dozens of law enforcement agencies throughout the Valley, paid tribute by honoring his sacrifice.
"There are very few people who can say that they can put their lives on the line for people they don't know," he said.
Community members watched as the newly unveiled honor guard lowered the American, state and Marine Corp flags to half staff.
"It's hard and it's difficult and for us," Javier's sister Maricela Bejar Chavez said. "It doesn't matter how long it's been, we'll always remember him, always miss him."
"For him, it was an honor to serve and an honor to protect so that also brings peace to us knowing he died doing what he loved."
The Bejar family listened as officers including Garza shared their memories of working alongside Javier.