Beloved city employee Goetzmann an ‘inspiration’

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, August 18, 2015

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MANY YEARS OF SERVICE: Longtime police officer and school resource officer Brian Goetzmann pictured at the front spent decades in the police force. Submitted photo.

Longtime police officer and school resource officer Brian Goetzmann died Saturday.

Goetzmann was 64. Since his death was announced on the City of Picayune Facebook page, dozens of Goetzmann’s friends have commented, remembering his kindness and generous spirit. Goetzmann had cerebral palsy and was confined to a wheelchair, but despite the disability, he served the public for years and friends remember he inspired many. “I have been around Brian since I was a little bitty kid,” said Harvey Miller. “He’s been a mentor, and just a very fine person. He was smart and dedicated. He never let his handicap get in the way of what he was trying to do.” Joyce Goetzmann, his mother, recalled her son’s fearlessness. “He said everybody is handicapped in some way,” said Goetzmann. “He never considered himself handicapped.” Miller, who is the city’s director of operations, said The City of Picayune lower its flags to half staff in memory of Goetzmann. His mother said she’s been pleased with the outpouring of support for her son. “I guess everybody in town loved Brian,” she said. She said her son was determined to live a “normal” life. After his high school graduation, she said her son attended Pearl River Community College and then he graduated with a four-year degree from Mississippi State University. He also attended law school for a year. From there he joined the city’s police department and worked with youth as a juvenile counselor. After decades on the force, he became a high school resource officer, where he patrolled the halls. “He could spot the trouble before it started,” his mother said. Former chief of police Jim Luke remembered how dedicated Goetzman was to the department and to the community. “If he was home sick, he hated it,” said Luke. “If he missed work for a period if time, if he’d have some bouts with his illness, he’d want to know what was going on. He’d call and check with me. He wanted to give back to the community, and work with the kids and teachers over (at the high school). The bottom line is, he was an inspiration. If you met him, he’d inspire you in someway way.” Miller, who is a former school board member, said Goetzmann’s love of the school was reciprocated. “The youth of the school all loved him,” said Miller, who is a former school board member. “I heard story after story.” Despite his mobility problems, Goetzmann added that her son rarely had any trouble with his wheelchair, though he did have a couple of spills. “He never had an accident,” she said. “Well, it did turn over on him, and another time he wasn’t noticing and a wheel came off and it dumped him in a ditch, but for the most of the time he was careful and didn’t have any accidents.” Miller said he’s happy his friend will no longer be confined in a wheelchair. “The only comfort I get out of any of this is that Brian has been made whole again, if that makes sense,” said Miller. ‘He’s been made whole and he doesn’t have to struggle anymore.” Luke said his friend won’t be gone from the city. “You know how in the evening the sun goes down below the horizon, but there’ll be that that afterglow? I think that people are like that too, and the afterglow that he will leave in this community will be here for all the rest of my life,” said Luke “And that’s a tribute to his love of his God. He loved his God, he loved his family and he loved his friends and he loved this community. And the community loved him.” Goetzmann’s funeral will be Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. First Baptist Church of Picayune.

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