LAFAYETTE, La. — On Thursday night hundreds were in attendance at the Blackham Colesium in Lafayette for the event Lafayette Strong: Unite. Honor. Heal.
This was an event that recognized the victims Mayci Breaux and Jillian Johnson. The first responders and police officers who risked their lives to protect a community when it mattered most were in attendance.
With her family by her side, Dondi Breaux, Mayci Breaux’s mother spoke to the crowd during an emotional speech. “I want us all to take a moment from what has happened and for us all to pay tribute to my beautiful daughter.” Standing on the stage as well during the speech was Mayci’s boyfriend Matthew Rodriguez. He and Mayci has plans to marry after she graduated college. He sat beside her that night in the theater. “So I just want to thank you Matthew for giving my daughter the love in life that she deserved, you will always be a part of our family.”
Her family said if Mayci could see the event tonight, she would be embarrassed. Lance LeBlanc and Lana Sanchez say, “This would probably embarrass her a great deal. She would know what it was for and she would be very appreciative but she would rather be in the back row just enjoying it.”
A close friend of Jillian Johnson’s spoke on behalf of her family. “You’ve heard so much about Jillian over this past week please know that it is all true. She was that special…. that beautiful, that talented. That loved.” And the love her family and friends have felt from the community… “But we want to take a moment to talk about you. Because you have helped us through what has been the worst, most painful time in our lives.”
Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft recognized the officers who risked their lives, by running into theater 14 while everyone was running out by asking them to stand for the first time before the crowd. “Whether they are police officers or hospital staff. The men and women who serve as first responders do so because they have a felt sense of mission to protect, to heal, and to make their community a better and safer place.”