Wearing hints of royal blue, family and friends walked into the St. Paul Church of Jacksonville Saturday to honor a man who shouldered many titles — son, brother, cousin, friend with his favorite being, dad.
Jerrald Gallion was laid to rest after he was one of the three victims to lose his life nearly two weeks ago in the Dollar General shooting that the Federal Bureau of Investigations said was a racist hate crime.
“They took something so valuable from our family, and we are hurting and our life will never ever be the same,” his aunt said at the service.
The 29-year-old was praised for being joyful, eager to help and dependable.
A close friend who attended the service said Gallion was someone who meant everything to them. His longtime boss even described him as one of the best employees she ever worked with.
“He loved everybody, and he was loyal to the end,” his boss said.
His cousin said Gallion “always found a way to smile” no matter the situation.
Bishop John Gunns, who gave the eulogy, announced he would be naming a fatherhood initiative after Gallion, and the initiative would fall under the organization Gunns founded called Operation Save Our Sons.
The church is also planning to start a scholarship fund for Gallion’s 4-year-old daughter.
As his family learns to heal from this devastating tragedy, his sister said they will turn their pain, anger and grief into something Gallion did so well, which was love.
“Today when you leave, spread more love. Don’t hate on this person. Don’t hate on that person. We have to unite together and we have to start making a change because our kids need us,” his sister said.
Gallion’s final resting place is at Restlawn Memorial Park.