It was an emotional moment Friday for the family of a local deputy who was killed in the line of duty.
Nearly three months ago, Nassau County Deputy Eric Oliver died while chasing down a fleeing suspect.
On Friday afternoon, his mother accepted a special gift of thanks for her family's sacrifice: a quilt.
Action News Jax’s Bridgette Matter spent three months following the women who made this happen, and was there when the special gift was delivered.
It was truly an emotional meeting between two mothers who both lost children who died in the line of duty to protect and serve.
On Friday, they shared the special moment with us, to let you know the sacrifice they're families have made.
“I’m so sorry, kiddo,” Sheri Bradway told Sharon Oliver.
The two mothers were meeting for the first time.
“It’s tough, I’ll be the first to tell you that,” Bradway said.
On Nov. 22, 2016, Deputy Eric Oliver was killed while pursuing a man who had entered the country illegally.
His mother, Sharon Oliver, said he was always proud to put on his uniform.
“He wanted to give back to the community at all times and he just felt like that was his calling,” Oliver said.
In 2013, more than a thousand miles away, Bradway suffered the same loss of her son.
“It was a man who could not forgive who took Rod’s life and changed everybody else's forever,” Bradway said.
Her son was an Indianapolis police officer who was shot and killed while answering a domestic violence call.
When Rod's service was cut short, his mother's began. As she began piecing her life back together, she started her own nonprofit, called A Quilt for Mother's Tears.
Her mission: to make a quilt for every mother who has lost a son or daughter in the line of duty. In 2016, 141 quilts were made, including one for Deputy Eric Oliver’s family.
“The seven stars represent the seven days of the week Eric served,” Bradway said.
We were there as this special gift was given from one mother to another.
“And our sons were here for a purpose and I’m so proud of him. We are proud of all of them,” Oliver said.
The quilt symbolizes service and sacrifice, wrapped in a mother's warm embrace.
“It's yours as a hug from me to you when you need a hug from Eric,” Bradway said.
Bradway continues to work on 16 quilts representing the 16 officers killed just this year.
Cox Media Group