Honoring a hero: AG Marshall pays tribute to fallen Deputy J’Mar Abel and his family

Published 9:00 am Tuesday, August 8, 2023

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Attorney General Steve Marshall paid tribute to the late Chambers County Sheriff’s Deputy J’Mar Abel during a visit to the LaFayette Courthouse on Monday. 

“It’s one of the unique privileges as AG to be able to work with the men and women who are called to protect and serve every day,” Marshall said. 

Members of the community came out to witness Abel’s fiance, Jasmine Gaddist, and children, Gianna and Bryson, be presented with a plaque with a commendation and a praying hands award in recognition of his service and sacrifice.

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The praying hands award symbolizes continued prayers for the family of a fallen officer. Abel was also honored at the state’s law enforcement summit, which is the largest law enforcement gathering in the state. 

Abel passed away in the line of duty in June 2022 after two years of serving as a sheriff’s deputy for Chambers County. He left behind his fiance, Jasmine, who was pregnant with his daughter at the time, and his stepson. 

Marshall explained that the plaque and the praying hands figure are to help the young children of fallen officers who might not have been old enough to remember or understand the sacrifice. 

“It’s a wonderful way hopefully for us to be able to honor his memory, something that she [Gianna] will be able to look at for years to come and remember her father,” Marshall said. 

Marshall spoke about the importance of paying tribute to fallen officers in the community and the hardship that Abel’s family has gone through.

“I hope what today does is remind them specifically about the fact that law enforcement continues to have their arms around his family and be able to continue to lift them up,” Marshall said.

“There’s much more to a law enforcement officer than the badge,” Marshall said. “Yes, they are called to be professionals to protect and serve, but they’re also sons. They are brothers. They are sisters, mothers and fathers. And when we lose a law enforcement officer, not only do we lose a beloved member of our community, but it’s the family themselves that lost the most.”

Sheriff Jeff Nelson, former Sheriff Sid Lockhart and many others who served with Abel at the sheriff’s office were in attendance to pay tribute. Lockhart spoke about his memories of Abel and the dedication he had to his job as a sheriff’s deputy. 

“He said he wanted to help people … He was doing something that made him happy,” Lockhart said. “He loved to serve the public.”