‘He will endure:’ Leon County Sheriff honors deputy one year after his death

The family of Michael Nowak receives an embrace from the Leon County Sheriff's Office during a memorial service.
Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 5:52 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A Leon County deputy’s family and colleagues gathered early Friday morning on the one year mark of his passing to celebrate his memory.

Deputy Michael ‘Andy’ Nowak was 52-years-old when he passed away Aug. 12, 2021 following a battle with COVID-19.

Sheriff Walt McNeil led the service, with Nowak’s family watching on from the crowd.

“We will always remember Andy not just for his courage but for his humanity,” Sheriff McNeil said, adding that those traits will live on in the other members of LCSO.

“His memory will be enduring. We will certainly make sure we do that each and every day...that he will endure as a part of us, as he does as a part of you,” he said.

Nowak’s mother, Candy, thanked the agency in a brief speech.

“365 days. It seems like yesterday and at the same time it seems like forever,” she said.

“We’ll be forever grateful to you for stepping up to support the family of one of your deputies.”

The family donated several items to LCSO, including a Thin Blue Line flag and a larger-than-life replica of Nowak’s 555 badge.

Nowak’s mother left with a reminder for the deputies listening in the crowd.

“When you put on that uniform, don’t forget you’re the chosen ones, and you’re also wrapping yourselves in the prayers of family and friends,” she said.

The service comes three months after some of Nowak’s family attended National Police Week events in Washington, D.C. Nowak was one of several local fallen officers honored.

According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 301 law enforcement officers died from COVID-19 in 2021.

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