MOUNTLAKE TERRACE – It’s been nine months since Brier police officer Eddie Thomas died in the line of duty.
His mother, Diane Thomas, 56, wants young people to learn from her son’s life.
On Wednesday, she was at Mountlake Terrace High School, where her son graduated a decade ago, to give students a message of hope and success during the school’s annual year-end assembly.
“Eddie was a goal-setter,” Diane Thomas said. “He always said, ‘Mom, if you can dream it, you can live it.’”
The school honored Eddie Thomas by dedicating this year’s yearbook to him. With help from students, yearbook adviser Beth Gilbraith designed a page in the yearbook in memory of him.
Diane Thomas also praised a student who honored Thomas on her own by writing his life’s history for her senior project. The student’s father is also a Brier police officer.
“I think it’s totally amazing and awesome they would do that for Eddie,” said Brier Police Chief Don Lane, who also spoke to the students. “It’s an honor for the police department for them to do it, and an honor for the city for them to do it.”
Mountlake Terrace senior Wesley Pair and freshman Gina Pair are cousins of Thomas’.
Thomas, who was 28, died of natural causes Sept. 12 while responding to an emergency aid call at the home of former Brier Mayor Gary Starks.
“He was very mischievous,” said Gilbraith, who was Thomas’ keyboarding teacher. “He worked hard enough, but not too hard. He did what was necessary and he always had a grin on his face.”
During the assembly, Diane Thomas was joined onstage by Trever Tillman of Mill Creek and Lynnwood police officer Chris Herrera – two of her son’s best friends since high school.
After his death, Eddie Thomas was bestowed the state’s Law Enforcement Medal of Honor and the national Fraternal Order of Police Supreme Sacrifice Medal of Honor.
The medals hung around Tillman’s and Herrera’s necks during the assembly.
“This shows what type of person he was, and how much he was appreciated,” Tillman said.
Mountlake Terrace High School Principal Greg Schwab said Eddie Thomas always kept his teachers on their toes.
He could always be counted on to have a positive attitude, he said.
“He will always be remembered for his quick wit, his sense of humor, and his willingness to give 110 percent to whatever he did,” Schwab told the audience.
Diane Thomas was moved by the school’s show of support. It means her son has not been forgotten, she said.
“The day he laid down his life, his badge and his gun, he became my hero,” she said.
Reporter Scott Pesznecker: 425-339-3436 or firstname.lastname@example.org.