SOUTH RIVER, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A year after the deadly Capitol riot, a small New Jersey community is remembering a hero lost that day.
The chaos at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was overwhelming. Law enforcement was outnumbered. But Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick did his best to defend those inside.READ MORE: Officer Brian Sicknick, Det. Joseph Seals Among Those Remembered At Annual 'Blue Mass' In Newark
“It’s sad that he went defending America against Americans,” said Ken Sicknick, Brian’s brother.
He died a day later after suffering multiple strokes.
“Sadness, anger, I mean, you name the emotion, it’s every day I’m dealing with it,” Sicknick told CBS2’s Kevin Rincon.
Sicknick says to this day, there are those who doubt his brother’s death was caused by the riot.
“He wouldn’t have died if he wasn’t overwhelmed by rioters, protesters, whatever you want to call them,” he said.
His family has spent time in Washington advocating for the truth.
“I much appreciate the January 6th commission. That’s an amazing thing that they did, but it boggles my mind that there were people that voted against it,” Sicknick said.
Last year, Brian was remembered at the Capitol where he served. Officers from far and wide paid their respects. But those tributes didn’t stop once he was laid to rest. They continue in his hometown.READ MORE: Mother Of Capitol Officer Brian Sicknick Urges Lawmakers To Move Ahead With Jan. 6 Commission
Back in South River where Brian grew up, he’s fittingly being remembered through community service.
“This struck a nerve in our entire country, so to have it happen in this little town is even deeper,” said Ellen Tschopp, a teacher at South River High School.
She helped organize several community events, including a town cleanup along where Sicknick’s mom takes daily walks.
“I’m a friend with Mrs. Sicknick. What I find important is that my friend is OK, and so I wanted to do something for her,” Tschopp said.
Students also pitched in to create a community garden.
“It helps to bring people together, which is something that we need more of today,” said South River High School student Alex Vasiley.
“I like the idea that we are trying to keep his memory alive,” student Connor Kosa said.
“If we just keep remembering him and keep doing our parts with our projects, then we’re doing a really good job,” student Diana Eleto said.
The plan now is to have the garden formally dedicated in Brian Sicknick’s honor this spring.MORE NEWS: George Tanios, Julian Khater Charged With Assaulting Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, Who Died After Riot
CBS2’s Kevin Rincon contributed to this report.