Southeast D.C. woman Shirley Gibson welcomed hundreds of police officers into her home Wednesday for a holiday meal -- as she has done for nearly the past two decades in honor of her son, an officer who was killed in the line of duty.
Gibson serves the annual meal in honor of her son, Officer Brian T. Gibson. At just 27 years old, he was shot and killed Feb. 5, 1997 by a man who wanted to kill any police officer he could find. Officer Gibson is remembered as a kind and excellent officer.
"He always had a big smile, a big grin on his face," D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said inside the Gibson home. "Losing Brian was terrible for the police department."
As many as 400 officers visited Shirley Gibson's home for a meal she spent three days cooking.
"This is Christmas for me," she said. "It's like having all these sons and daughters ... to have them come eat at 'Mom's house,' that's what matters now."
Lanier's eyes welled up with tears as she spoke about Gibson's generosity.
"She does this, she says, because she likes to see the police officers, but we do this because we like to come here."
Gibson said this year will be the last time she serves the meal, as it's a lot for her to handle, but several officers said they had heard that before and that they couldn't imagine her giving it up.
Anyone who wants to help can visit the Capital Area Law Enforcement Foundation's website.