Family, Friends, Fellow Officers Remember Sheriff’s Lt. Jerry Clark
Natrona County Sheriff's Office Lt. Jerry Clark not only ran jails, he helped reform those who spent time in them, one former inmate said Thursday.
"I went into the jail in 2002 as an inmate; I left in 2003 as a Christian and as a person looking to change his life," jail Chaplain Bert Eldredge told hundreds of mourners at the memorial service for Clark at Highland Park Community Church.
"The reason that that happened is because Jerry Clark believed very much in the chaplain's program," Eldredge said. "He was very much a man that followed rules, and he made sure you obeyed them, but on the other hand he was also a man who bent the rules."
Clark, 65, died suddenly on Saturday after complications from surgery. He was remembered Thursday with a motorcade that went by the Natrona County Detention Center on Bruce Lane and the Hall of Justice downtown.
Clark didn't regard those whose law-breaking behavior landed them in the jail as hopeless, Eldredge said. "He saw it as an opportunity for hope in people. He saw it as a place for penance, as a place where they could turn around their lives."
The former inmate grew in his Christian life and in 2008 became a chaplain at the jail, where he visits every Thursday, he said.
"He saw people for what they were, not what they were on the street, but what they actually had in them to be," Eldredge said, his voice breaking. "He took many of us, and I am a prime example of a broken person that Lt. Clark (invested) in. He taught me what it meant to respect people, and respect myself."
Eldredge offered his condolences to the Clark family -- wife Margaret and daughters Erin and Cody -- telling them they are not alone because they share a larger family pf friends and officers from local law enforcement agencies.
"And I just want to say, 'thank you, Jerry,' because I am a better man today because of you," Eldredge said. "And I know that as you entered those heavenly gates, that Christ embraced you and said, 'well done, good and faithful servant.'"
After the Casper Fire Department Pipes and Drums corps performed "Amazing Grace," the Sheriff's office issued its last call for Clark through the dispatch center.
The dispatcher called for him at his respective posts.
When the dispatcher received no response, she said, "Your brothers and sister have your watch from here."