Posted: Thursday, December 3, 2015 6:00 pm
Corsicana Daily Sun
By Michael Kormos
Lt. Jason Westmoreland was known as a peace officer, friend, mentor, father, husband and musician. The impact he made on the lives of others was evident Wednesday as the Navarro College Police Academy dedicated its new classroom to the memory of the late director of the program.
The crowd overflowed into the halls of the Navarro College Bain Center as students, dignitaries and local law enforcement officials gathered to honor the memory of a man who meant so much to others.
Westmoreland became the director of the Navarro College Police Academy in 2012 after he retired from the Ellis County Sheriff’s Department as a lieutenant. He passed away in September of this year.
The ceremony began with an invocation by Dairy Johnson followed by singing of the National Anthem by Megan Criggar and posting of the colors by the Honor Guard.
Dr. Barbara Kavalier, Navarro College District President, took the podium first to welcome guests and relate what Westmoreland meant to the program.
“In the more than 30 years I’ve spent as a college administrator, I’ve become very adept at identifying what I call superstars,” Kavalier said. “Those individuals whose talents and passion and dedication far exceed the requisite job description. These are the employees who make the most difference in the lives of our students. Jason was a superstar at Navarro College. He was one of those employees. The contribution Jason made will be realized for many, many years to come. Although we are all saddened by the passing of a dear colleague, we are honored today to name this classroom which is the new police academy classroom to the memory of Jason Westmoreland.”
Dr. Harold Housley, Navarro College Executive Vice President, described Westmoreland as a friend and assured the crowd that he will be missed.
“Jason inherited a program that was not exemplary,” Housley said. “The program needed a lot of work, a lot of repairs. Jason worked with the program and rebuilt the program, he increased enrollment and achieved a 100 percent pass rate for the graduates. You don’t get much better than that, his leadership was exemplary. He loved his students and he loved Navarro College, almost as much as he loved his guitar. It is fitting and honorable to dedicate this classroom to the memory of Jason Westmoreland.”
Tracy Edwards, class sergeant of the day shift at the Corsicana Police Academy, spoke of the lasting legacy Westmoreland left on the program.
Westmoreland’s widow, Jenny, expressed her gratitude for the tribute to her late husband.
“To know that Jason’s love for law enforcement is now a part of Navarro College adds a highlight to his already distinguished and impressing career,” Jenny said. “Jason would be proud. I hope that his name resonates in the halls of this building and brings life to the classroom for future cadets and students. Jason had a passion for learning, for teaching others and he was ambitious in every part of his life. Thank you Navarro College for honoring him and for affording him the opportunity to teach others and pursue his career here at Navarro.”
A special memorial was unveiled with a portrait of Westmoreland as its centerpiece, surrounded by group photos of past graduating classes.
“This memorial represents Jason’s character, his love for law enforcement and his love for his job,” Jenny said after the unveiling. “We were married for 10 years and he was always up for a challenge. The Navarro College Police Academy was his biggest challenge and the effects of the efforts and hard work really shows.”