NWLA woman paints from the heart to honor slain officers

NWLA woman paints from the heart to honor slain officers

BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) - A Bossier City woman is using her artistic talents to help comfort the families of fallen officers.

Painting portraits is also a form of therapy for JaNiece Cefalu.

"It makes me stop it makes me focus it makes me breathe it makes me relax. It lets me create. I love to create."

When she's not answering phones for the non-emergency line at the Shreveport Police Department, you can find her behind her easel painting from her heart.

Cefalu knows all too well how powerful a photo can be. In 1995 she lost her only daughter in a car crash. She was just 17.

"I lost my world my world was gone it was destroyed," explained Cefalu.

She says a stranger gave her a necklace with her daughter's photo engraved.

"That one little photograph that one little picture that one little engraving meant the world to me," explained Cefalu.

She recalled being on duty the night Officer Thomas LaValley died. It was nearly 20 years to the month after she lost her daughter.

"I knew instantly that moment how that mama felt her life has changed forever," recalled Cefalu.

Knowing how important photos of her daughter are to her, she hand painted Officer LaValley's portrait for his mother.

"I want to let them know that they're not going to be forgotten."

Her healing works of art continue as she puts the finishing touches on two more canvases. One for Dallas,Texas and another for Baton Rouge.

"I want to do this so hopefully those families will know these men are never going to be forgotten," explained Cefalu.

She says it's her small way to back the blue and their families. Cefalu and members of the Shreveport Police Department plan to travel to both Dallas and Baton Rouge to hand deliver the paintings in memory of their fallen brothers in blue.

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