LUTZ — Officer Jesse Madsen thought-about everybody he met to be household.
He was born to a younger mom who liked him however knew she couldn’t take care of him, so he went residence from the hospital with an adoptive household. After a couple of weeks, the household determined his pores and skin was too darkish and he was given up once more.
When Jesse turned 6 months outdated, Bruce Madsen, a single father of two, adopted him. Because the boy grew up, he confirmed a novel capability to like strangers as in the event that they have been household. He was greater than a son, Bruce Madsen mentioned. He turned a real-life superhero.
“Was he Superman? Batman? Tony Stark? No, he was Jesse Madsen,” Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan mentioned through the officer’s memorial service Tuesday at Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz. “These fictitious superheroes received nothing on him.”
Below the circumstances, Dugan mentioned, somebody was going to die the night time of March 9 as Grasp Patrol Officer Jesse Madsen drove residence on Interstate 275 and a name got here in a few wrong-way driver. Madsen made the split-second choice to maintain driving, Dugan mentioned — to steer by instance, to show concern into braveness, and to sacrifice his personal life for others he would by no means know.
He deliberately maneuvered his patrol SUV into the trail of a dashing, impaired driver, in response to police, in an try and cease him and save others. Each males died on affect.
“This was not a automotive accident,” Dugan mentioned. “This was achieved on objective to avoid wasting lives.”
Staring down the interstate, into the headlights of an oncoming driver was a state of affairs Madsen had thought of earlier than, his buddy and colleague Cpl. Terry Sims instructed mourners.
“Jesse and I had particular conversations about cease a wrong-way driver, and that night time he did instinctively what we had all the time deliberate to do, years in the past,” Sims mentioned. “First man in, final man out, main by instance. … If he was right here, I believe Jesse would inform us doing these items is value it, and that it’s an honor to serve others.”
Nonetheless, it’s laborious to let go of a hero.
One after the other, troopers, law enforcement officials and relations sobbed as they spoke Tuesday at Idlewild church about their lion-hearted buddy.
Below coronavirus protocols, all in attendance wore masks and each different pew was roped off. All seats obtainable within the church, which may maintain, 5,000, have been full. Following the funeral, officers from throughout the state escorted Madsen’s physique to the Florida Nationwide Cemetery in Bushnell, the place he was interred with full navy honors in a non-public ceremony.
Madsen spent 16 of his 45 years as a Tampa Police officer and served three excursions in Afghanistan with the U.S. navy. He joined the Marines in 1994 and went on to turn into a sniper and firearms teacher. He suffered critical damage when an improvised explosive gadget exploded underneath his Humvee, but completed his tour of obligation and earned awards for his service.
He labored for the Lyndhurst and Shaker Heights Police Departments in Ohio, then was employed by the Tampa Police Division in 2004. Amongst his assignments, he served within the honor guard and earned eight life-saving awards in addition to 4 glorious obligation awards, one unit quotation, 17 letters of appreciation, three certificates of appreciation and now, in demise, the Police Purple Protect and Police Medal of Honor in addition to his remaining life-saving award. His household will obtain the Tampa Police Division’s Gold Cross in recognition of his selfless act of heroism and Madsen’s badge quantity, 507, will probably be retired.
As a younger police officer in Shaker Heights, Ohio, Madsen fell in love with one other member of the pressure – his spouse Danyelle, now a police officer on the College of South Florida. Behind her husband’s heroic persona, Danyelle instructed the mourners, it’s his gentle coronary heart, his capability to like and be liked, that she’ll miss most.
His best pleasure was being a father to their kids, sons age 12 and 16 and a 10-year-old daughter. He taught the boys to fish and hunt and let his little woman paint his toenails, she mentioned. As a substitute of goal apply, Jesse would meet up with pals to shoot outdated TV units, computer systems and copiers. You knew when he was about to inform a comic story as a result of his eyes would nicely up with tears earlier than he may even communicate, she mentioned. And when he laughed, it was so loud the canine would begin barking.
“When our first son was born he known as me from residence at 2 a.m. sobbing,” Danyelle Madsen mentioned. “I requested him what was improper and he may barely get the phrases out. He mentioned, ‘I by no means knew I may love somebody a lot that I solely simply met.’ However that’s how he liked everybody – fiercely.”
Madsen’s love knew no bounds, mentioned Grasp Patrol Officer Michael Strom, his buddy and longtime Tampa police accomplice.
To Madsen, brotherhood wasn’t a cliché. He was abroad when Strom’s brother died in automotive crash. Mourning the loss, Strom received a tattoo on his facet like his brother’s — a Bible reference, Corinthians 10:13, about resisting temptation. When Madsen returned, he lifted his shirt and confirmed Strom he had gotten the identical tattoo.
The tattoo meant Madsen may now not serve within the Marines, Idlewild Baptist Pastor Ken Whitten instructed the mourners. Nonetheless, he wished to enlist once more, so he joined the Military Reserves.
At first, Danyelle begged him to not. However Madsen mentioned the Military would by no means “deploy an outdated man like me,” Whitten mentioned. Quickly, he realized he was being despatched to Afghanistan.
“He instructed Danyelle, ‘Now pay attention, I’ve received this shoulder factor and I can get out of it as a result of I instructed you I’d defend you, and I instructed you I’d be right here for you, and I’m telling you simply say the phrase and I’ll keep,’” Whitten mentioned. “She merely requested him, ’Why do you wish to go,’ and his response is not going to shock you.
“He mentioned, ‘I wish to be sure that these youngsters come residence. I wanna be sure that the automotive behind me comes residence. I wanna be sure that my very own youngsters and my neighborhood, my household, can come residence.’”
And Madsen by no means made a promise he couldn’t preserve.