PTA Reflections Winner Honors DPD Officer Killed in the Line of Duty

Photo Credit: SavingAHerosPlace.org

This year’s theme for the “Reflections” art program sponsored by national PTA is “Heroes Around Me.”

For Gabrielle Gonzalez, a sixth-grader at Northrich Elementary, the theme resonated in a way that led her to submit a photo of something that represents an enormous part of her young life.

Gabby’s photo of a chair made to honor her uncle, Victor Lozada, conveys a depth of emotion that’s tangible. It’s a simple composition, yet the hairs on the back of your neck stand up upon viewing it.

Senior Corporal Lozada was a Dallas police officer for 20 years. He died in a motorcycle accident on Feb. 22, 2008, while riding as part of a motorcade escorting a dignitary. Gabby was 2 years old. Victor and his wife, Theresa, were like a second set of parents to Gabby’s dad, Daniel; and Victor even introduced Daniel to Gabby’s mom, Vicki.

The chair was made to “hold his place” at the police station. It is a symbol of the missing officer that stays in the room where officers hold detail each day so that he is never forgotten, according to Senior Corporal Ira Carter, who currently rides in the same DPD motorcycle unit that Victor Lozada was a part of. Detail is when officers have roll call and receive updated information before starting a shift.

The “Honor Chair” was made by San Antonio Police Officer Tommy Capell. He started the program in early 2013 to memorialize a fellow Alamo City officer killed in the line of duty. Soon after that, the Boston Marathon bombing happened, and Capell was struck by the death of a MIT Police Officer that day.

He solicited the help of two fellow officers with whom he graduated the academy, and “Saving a Hero’s Place” was born. Capell and his partners, Brandon Bunch and Michael Pullen, have made and delivered more than five dozen of the honor chairs so far and have another 71 requests pending.

“We understand the loss and we want our brothers and sisters who have been killed in the line of duty to always be remembered,” Capell says. “The thin blue line does not know boundaries or badge designs. We believe no matter the agency and no matter the distance, we can honor our fallen.”

DPD Officer Ira Carter brought the chair to the Reflections ceremony

Capell’s wife delivered Victor’s chair to his family on the tenth anniversary of his death.

“Victor is gone not forgotten,” Vicki says. “The officers — whether it be the Richardson Police Department or DPD — walk the ‘Thin Blue Line’ for all of us on a daily basis asking for nothing in return. Our family appreciated that walk more than anyone will ever know.”

Gabby’s photo won the middle school photography segment of the RISD Council of PTAs Reflections program and moved onto the state competition. Winners of the statewide competition will be announced March 15.

The Texas PTA has administered the national Reflections program for 50 years as a way for all students in the state to have a creative outlet across a variety of arts disciplines.

“With positive recognition as the focus of this program, rather than competition, students of all ages and abilities can experience the benefits of creative expression and help in finding their own voice in telling their unique story,” according to the Texas PTA.