The sights and sounds at CrossPoint Church in Modesto on May 23 were all too familiar for the men and women of the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department, as they once again bid a final farewell to one of their own.
Deputy Jason Garner was laid to rest last week during a memorial service that had Sheriff Adam Christianson speaking aloud the sentiment that was in the minds of many from the department.
"Not again," he said.
The day Garner died was six months to the date of when Deputy Dennis Wallace was gunned down and the sheriff and several others were in Washington D.C. to honor his service when they received the bitter news that the department had lost two members in one tragic crash.
Garner and Community Service Officer Raschel Johnson died on May 13. The pair were responding to a report of a burglary that had already occurred when the crash occurred at Crows Landing Road and Seventh Street. The investigation by the California Highway Patrol is ongoing.
Garner was raised in Lodi and graduated from Tokay High School in 1994. He began his career in law enforcement at a young age, serving as a police cadet for the Stockton Police Department right after high school and later as a reserve officer for the Elk Grove Police Department. He also worked as a sports writer for the Stockton Record and later was a licensed private investigator.
He joined the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department in 2007 and eventually became a member of the mounted unit.
Christianson remarked that Garner stood out in the department for his positive attitude, drive and motivation.
"Jason was all things a deputy sheriff should be," Christianson said.
Garner was 41 at the time of his passing. He is survived by his wife Helen, children Ashley, Chase, Hudson and Jackson, parents David and Donna Garner and siblings Jared Garner, Nathan Garner and Christina Garner Edwards.
To donate to Garner's memorial fund people can do so in person at any West America Bank branch to the Jason Garner Memorial Fund (Account # 0219055860); or at https://www.gofundme.com/jason-garner-memorial-fund; or by mailing donations to the Stanislaus Sworn Deputies Association, P.O. Box 2314, Ceres, CA 95307.