Helen Comer documents memorial service for fallen officer

The police chief of La Vergne Burrel “Chip” Davis presents Anna Stolinsky, 4 of the daughter of the fallen police detective from La Vergne, Lt. Kevin Stolinsky, during the memorial service for Stolinsky on Wednesday November 17, 2021 at LifePoint Church in Smyrna, raised a flag as Stolinsky’s wife and mother of Anna, Casey Stolinsky, left and Detective Lt. Stolinsky’s father Martin Jack “Marty” Stolinsky, right, is watching.

Every job is different and special in its own way, but some jobs are very special.

This month, with tears in my eyes, I photographed one of these very special assignments.

I was honored to attend the memorial service for the La Vergne Police Detective Lt. Kevin Stolinsky, who dedicated his life to serving and protecting others.

As I approached LifePoint Church in Smyrna, I knew it was going to be special to see a huge American flag on the ladder of a fire truck hanging over the driveway to and from the church.

The hearse tending to the coffin of La Vergne Detective Lt. Kevin Stolinsky passes under a large American flag as the family attend a private ceremony on Wednesday, November 17, 2021 after the service at LifePoint Church in Smyrna Cemetery goes.

The hearse tending to the coffin of La Vergne Detective Lt. Kevin Stolinsky passes under a large American flag as the family attend a private ceremony on Wednesday, November 17, 2021 after the service at LifePoint Church in Smyrna Cemetery goes.

During the funeral service, the movements of those performing the many military and police honors were precise and the images of the ceremony unforgettable. I continued to take pictures as the speakers, all of whom were either current or former law enforcement officials, began to speak. I listened carefully as they celebrated the life of a man I never knew.

I learned that Stolinsky was always a man of service. La Vergne Police Chief Burrel “Chip” Davis, who worked with Stolinsky for 18 years, said, “He (Stolinsky) would do anything for you, sometimes more than he should, but he did.”

In the 44 years of his life, Stolinsky served many, including the city of La Vergne, his country in the Navy, and his family. With the help of his brother David (who is also in law enforcement), he served the families of fallen law enforcement officers.

Beginning in 2012, the brothers came together to provide support and comfort to the families of 60 police officers’ families who died on duty.

Before the closing prayer, Ken Hampton, assistant pastor, LifePoint Church, encouraged those in attendance: “Enjoy life. Don’t take it for granted. Laugh every day. Tell someone that you love them every day. “

Hampton went on to elaborate on how to express love when he said, “Say it often, say it out loud, say it with words, say it with actions.”

The memorial service was one of the most poignant assignments I handled this month, but it wasn’t the only one involving love, emotion and celebration. It is an honor for me to capture people every day who do not take life for granted.

After tough playoff defeats and partying as the players took to the field and scored touchdowns, compassion was felt between coaches and players.

Bridget Greer with One Wish Equine Rescue will show love to one of the rescued horses on the farm on Tuesday, November 2nd, 2021.

Bridget Greer with One Wish Equine Rescue will show love to one of the rescued horses on the farm on Tuesday, November 2nd, 2021.

The death of Lt. Kevin Stolinsky reminds us all not to take life for granted. And how important it is to serve others.

During this holiday season and beyond, be kind and show compassion towards others. Remember: Although some people are happy and cheerful at this time of year; others are the opposite for various reasons.

A little friendliness can go a long way.

MTSU linebacker Jurriente Davis (10) and MTSU offensive lineman Tyler Falvey (70) emerge from the tunnel in smoke before the start of the game against Southern Miss on Saturday, October 30, 2021 at MTSU.

MTSU linebacker Jurriente Davis (10) and MTSU offensive lineman Tyler Falvey (70) emerge from the tunnel in smoke before the start of the game against Southern Miss on Saturday, October 30, 2021 at MTSU.

This article originally appeared in the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal: Don’t Take Life for granted and other lessons

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