The mother of a slain police officer hosted her annual Christmas dinner to give back to her son’s police department.
For the past 20 years, Shirley Gibson served an early Christmas dinner for the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C., reports WMC Action News.
She cooked dinner for the officers to honor her dead son, officer Brian Gibson. Brian died in 1997 at age 27. A police officer with the Metro PD, he was shot and killed while at a traffic light.
After her son’s funeral, Gibson decided to cook an annual Christmas dinner to honor Brian’s memory. Each year, she cooks his favorite meals and invites his fellow officers to partake in the dinner.
“It makes it great. It starts our holiday for us,” Gibson said to NBC News.
Approximately 400 people came to join the dinner this year. Gibson started cooking three days in advance.
“I have three freezers downstairs, to hold the turkeys, and I borrowed my neighbors freezer across the street,” Gibson explained. This Christmas dinner will be her last one, as the attendance has skyrocketed.
Muriel Bowser, Washington D.C.’s mayor, planned a surprise for Gibson this year. When she went grocery shopping for the dinner, dozens of officers greeted her at the entrance.
Bowser waited inside with 15 tickets to the African-American Museum of History and Culture.
“She has dedicated her life since the loss of her son to helping other families who have lost their sons in law enforcement,” Peter Newsham, Washington’s interim police chief, declared.
Gibson said the officers that attend are just like her own sons and daughters. Most importantly, they help her feel connected to Brian.
“All of these officers coming through my house and hugging Ms. Gibson. You feel their service weapons on their side, and when you hug them it feels like my Brian,” she said.
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