Officer Juan Gomez awarded posthumous Officer of the Year Award

Published 2:17 pm Thursday, September 30, 2021

By MICHELLE LOVE | Staff Writer 

PELHAM – On Wednesday, Sept. 29, the Pelham Police Department and the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce (SCCC) awarded Officer Juan Gomez with a posthumous Police Officer of the Year award at the SCCC Public Safety Awards.

Gomez served as part of the Pelham PD for 11 years, and, according to Police Chief Pat Cheatwood, always represented what it meant to be an exemplary member of the police force. On Aug. 14, Gomez died from complications related to COVID-19, leaving behind a legacy of hard work, family values and a genuine, pure heart.

“I’ve been doing this job for 26 years, and I’ve lost a lot of friends to gunfire and suicide, but COVID is a first for me, and everyone else in this room. We never saw this coming,” Cheatwood said. “Not only did we lose a great police officer and a great public servant, but I lost a friend. He was exactly what you’d look for in a public servant. He cared about people, and he did everything he could to go above and beyond to serve those who he was around.”

“Juan was everything that every man should aspire to be,” Cheatwood continued. “He cared about mankind, he cared about telling people about Jesus and he cared about helping those in need, even if he didn’t know them and even if they didn’t deserve it.”

There wasn’t a dry eye in the room as Cheatwood called Gomez’s wife, Katie, up to the front of the room, where he presented her with her husband’s award. Everyone present at the event rose in a standing ovation. Members of Gomez’s family were there to support Katie, and Cheatwood made it clear that she would always have the respect and support of the Pelham Police Department.

“Katie lost a great man,” Cheatwood said, “but she has a whole family of cops who will always take care of her.”