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Sheffield business owners celebrate life of fallen officer Sgt. Nick Risner

People from across the Shoals area came out Saturday for food, for fun and to donate money for the victims and their families.

Posted: Oct 16, 2021 11:42 PM
Updated: Oct 18, 2021 3:44 PM

The Sheffield community came together once again Saturday night to honor fallen Sheffield Police Sgt. Nick Risner.

This time, it was in the form of a block party put on by local businesses who wanted to show their support. WAAY-31 spoke with people there on why it's important to never forget Risner's impact.

Because of the impact Sheffield police officers have in their community, it has some young people wanting to follow in their footsteps one day. Many have described Risner as someone to be like and an officer to look up to.

"I want to be a police officer," said one little boy.

Several people said Risner's impact won't ever be forgotten. Even after his death, business owners continue to celebrate him and support his family.

"As a community, as Sheffield, we wanted to come together, and we have multiple businesses here that wanted to do something and let the family know that we love them," said Celestina Peru, co-owner of Mama P's.

She and her husband Mike said Risner's death has been on their hearts since it happened, and they want to keep the momentum up so people don't ever forget him. There was food, music and moments of laughter and even some who shared moments with Risner and his beloved K-9 partner, Whiske.

"I've met Sgt. Risner a couple of times and even got to play with Whiske, and he was just such the perfect spokesperson for the community," said Chef Alan Phillips.

Phillips was helping out with Oakland Bakery and even made a "Back the Blue" dessert. He told us Risner's death is still hard to bear, but his personality is what keeps them smiling.

"They had a serious job, but that he could still take life and be happy about it and try to make other people's lives happy as well in the process of doing that and his job — that's what he really meant to me," he said.

Phillips told WAAY-31 seeing the decorations and people smile when they saw others is what this is all about it. We were told this isn't the last of events to be held in Sheffield for families affected by the tragedy Oct. 1.

"We are Sheffield strong," said Susan Moss of Box Car Cafe. "We always have been. We support everybody, not just our police officers — our first responders and for everybody. It's for the community, to support and to let them know we're there. One-hundred percent of the proceeds from all these businesses are going to the victims' families."

One highlight of the event featured a table for participants to take a card and write something nice or say "I love you" to a loved one or a friend. Organizers wanted everybody to remember this event by knowing they always have someone there for them, whether they know it or not.

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