Memorial mass honors fallen officers Jerving, Kurer

Emotional end of watch for two police officers
Published: Mar. 26, 2023 at 10:59 PM CDT
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FOND DU LAC, Wis. (WBAY) - Marian University honored two officers who attended the school and recently died in the line of duty during a special mass Sunday.

Dozens filled Marian’s Dorcas Chapel to celebrate Officer Joseph Kurer and Officer Peter Jerving’s lives, their commitment to public safety and the sacrifices they made.

“They poured out their life in love to those around them,” Father Ryan Pruess of the Holy Family Catholic Church said.

Fond du Lac Officer Kurer, 26, died in 2021 after battling COVID-19 for several weeks. The police department said Kurer contracted COVID-19 while working and classified his death as a line of duty death. He graduated from Marian with a degree in Criminal Justice and Homeland Security.

“He lived a life of service from a young boy on. That’s just who he was at his core. It was his heart. It was his life. It was his way of being,” Mary Kurer, Joseph’s mother, said.

Milwaukee Officer Jerving, 37, was mortally wounded in a shootout with a robbery suspect in February. The suspect was killed. He was currently studying at Marian to earn a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice.

“I cannot think of a better example of courage, honor and self-sacrifice than Peter E.C. Jerving,” Milwaukee Police Chief Jeffrey Norman eulogized.

Jerving’s family couldn’t make it Marian for the mass but parishioners sent their love to Milwaukee through song and prayer.

“We are blessed to have the support of so many people and we never want to forget the sacrifices that they make,” Mary Kurer, Joseph’s mother, said.

A lot of that support comes from first responders and their families. Some attended mass in uniform.

“They have a willingness to look beyond themselves every single day and put their lives at risk and it’s not something we take lightly nor do others and we’re fortunate we have people like that,” Mary continued.

Wearing the badge was a dream of Joseph’s since he was little.

“Even though his life was cut short the fact that he had the opportunity to do what he was so passionate about and what he truly believed in and be a light to the world…” Mary told Action 2 News.

The Kurers have advice for anyone grieving a loss.

“Welcome and seek out the help that others are offering you because we had help coming in many different directions that we weren’t even anticipating,” Bill Kurer, Joseph’s father, explained. “People genuinely care and want to help and we hope we can do the same for somebody else some day as well. Pay it forward. Pay it forward.”

Bill is raising money for the Police Unity Tour in May. As part of the fundraiser, he’s biking 300 miles from Pennsylvania to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.