FREEPORT, Texas — Nov. 5, 2020 marks one year since Officer Abigail Arias died from cancer. The 7-year-old inspired many with her courage and is still doing so.
Her charm and love of life was infectious. During her last year, she was sworn in as an honorary Freeport police officer. Her badge number was 758. She and police chief Ray Garivey bonded.
“We know she is no longer hurting. That doesn't mean we're not selfish wanting her back," Chief Garivey said. “My wife and I are blessed. We purchased a bay house near Galveston we named ‘758 Bayhouse.' We've been blessed to bring kids through there, with special needs, cancer-fighting warriors.”
Abigail's parents, Ruben and Ilene, are also part of that project. The two families see each other almost weekly. On this anniversary evening, they will meet for a small vigil at the cemetery where Abigail is buried. Her headstone was installed earlier in this week.
There is also a new book coming out called "Abigail, The Brave Little Llama." It's illustrated by a local artist with autism and talks about childhood cancer.
Chief Garivey said law enforcement still talks about the little girl who helped unify people, and the book is another example.
“In the heavens, she still brings us together in light of all the negative things going on in our country," Chief Garivey said.
Garivey has his own grandchildren, and Abigail is never far away. He points to a ballcap with her signature scrawled across it and the shield pinned to his chest.
“This is her actual signature on the cap. That’s her signature. Her 7 is backwards, and if you look at my badge, the 7 is backwards in her honor," Chief Garivey said.
A book signing for "Abigail The Brave Little Llama" will be held from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Freeport Police Department. Part of the proceeds will go to a scholarship fund for Abigail’s big brother, 12-year-old Ethan Arias.