The University of Colorado-Colorado Spring officer that was killed in a shooting at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood has been described as a hero for his actions. Officer Garrett Swasey can be remembered as a devoted father and husband of 17 years as well as an accomplished skater. Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan was friends with the Colorado officer and had even skated with him at one point. Kerrigan described Swasey as akin to a sibling, both having grown up in the neighboring Boston suburbs of Stoneham and Melrose, respectively.
Swasey's father, David, notified Kerrigan about what had happened following the shooting and just before his name had been released to the media; David and Kerrigan are still in contact. Kerrigan fondly reminisced about the important role the Swaseys played in her own skating career as well as her strong friendship with Garrett:
His dad picked me up at school every day to take me to the rink. We were together an awful lot as children. I would ride my bike to his house and we'd hang out at the pool. We were together all the time, whether [we] were skating or not. ... He was just a really good friend, very loyal and kind. He had a big, giant, smile all the time, even when we were teasing each other like brothers and sisters do. ... That feeling that he is like a little brother, that doesn’t go away.
Garrett began skating initially in singles before transitioning to couples ice dancing. He would go onto win a junior national championship with partner Christine Fowler-Binder in 1992. Kerrigan described Garrett's skating as "strong and powerful and yet [he] somehow did it with a nice ease." Fowler-Binder was also interviewed about her time skating with Garrett, and she described him as a calming presence as the two trained. "He always had the patience to calm me down and we worked together like brother and sister would," she said. In an interview with The New York Daily News, Fowler-Binder also described Garrett as being incredibly altruistic:
He always chose right over wrong and was very selfless. And no matter what I needed, he was there.
Former coach Sandy Hess echoed Fowler-Binder's statements and has fond memories of Garrett, who went on to become a skating coach prior to joining the police force. Hess said:
Very few people come along in your life where when you remember them 20 years later, the first thing you do is smile before you say anything. He was one of those athletes that was very unique because he really didn't try to stand out in the crowd but he did.
Garrett had moved to Colorado Springs to begin Olympic training, eventually settling there to start a family and establish a career as a UCCS officer. For as many people who were impacted by Garrett's service as a police officer, it seems that just as many remember him as a formidable ice skater and a giving friend.
Images: UCCS (1), Getty (1)