Anyone who’s ever worked in an office has probably been to a retirement announcement or party. Typically, there’s a speech from the boss (while the employee stands to the side, probably awkwardly), a round of applause, and some cake.
For Officer Duane Ledoux of the Southbridge Police Department in Massachusetts, his announcement was a little more exciting. Ledoux spent more than 30 years with the department, so his last day, and last ride, was an emotional one.
His tenure and dedication to the job have always been admirable, perhaps even more so because 15 years ago, he lost his wife and one of his two sons in a car accident. Despite the tragedy, he continued to show up to work and serve.
So, on the day of his retirement, after spending so much of his life serving and protecting his community, he was honored with a final sign off.
The department recorded the event from both ends of the radio — in Ledoux’s squad car and at the station — and shared the videos on Facebook.
Ledoux is visibly choked up as he listens to his chief announce that the officer is giving his final “Code 5”, which means a cop has wrapped a scene. The chief thanks him for his service and mentions how much of an honor it has been to work with him.
Already close to tears, Ledoux responds, “10-4, I thank you… too much to say.” He manages to get out a thank you to his family and his boys before saying, “It’s time to go home. It’s time to go home.”
But if Ledoux thought that was it for the waterworks, boy, was he wrong.
Over the radio, another man comes on to honor the officer. It only takes him a few moments to get to the true tearjerker: “After 32.5 years of service, my father, Southbridge police officer Duane Ledoux is retiring and has given his final Code 5.”
It was the voice of Ledoux’s surviving son, Nate, who had flown in from Seattle to surprise his dad for the event. He finished his speech with, “Dad, you are officially Code 5.”
Ledoux said, for him, retirement means that his life is just an “open book,” and he plans to spend some of his time chasing his son around the country.
Watch Officer Ledoux’s emotional final sign off below, and don’t forget to share the story with your friends!
This story originally appeared at InspireMore.