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Memorial and Candlelight Vigil | 2009


On Tuesday, May 12, 2009 the Johnston County Fraternal Order of Police held a memorial service and candlelight vigil at the Johnston County Community College Public Safety Training Center. This event was held in conjunction with National Police Week, recognizing the service and sacrifice of U.S. law enforcement. Established by a joint resolution of Congress in 1962, National Police Week pays special recognition to those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others. In Johnston County, seven peace officers have given their lives in service to their communities.

 

Jason Hutchins, president of the Johnston County Fraternal Order of Police told those gathered, “We pay tribute this evening to fallen law enforcement officers who served throughout Johnston County: 6 men and 1 woman of honor and courage killed in the line of duty -- who in times of challenge stood with the innocent against the guilty, with the peaceful against the violent, with the right against the wrong, with the righteous against injustice. When we take the measure of these men and women, we find heroes.” Family members of four of the seven Johnston County peace officers were joined by comrades, colleagues and friends including the president of the North Carolina Fraternal Order of Police Terry Mangum. Hutchins related to the families, “…I know there are no words to ease your sorrow or change the reality of what has been taken from you. These heroes are no longer with us. But I can tell you in our hearts, we will always remember and be grateful for your husband, your wife, your mother, your father, your sister, your brother, your daughter, your son.”

 

The Johnston County Fraternal Order of Police is working with the Johnston County Community College BLET program directed by Jason Godwin to construct a permanent memorial honoring police officers, fire fighters and EMS personnel who died in service to the citizens of Johnston County, making sure that their names and their memories live on in the hearts, minds, and souls of our citizens for generations to come. This is the duty and commitment from the Johnston County Fraternal Order of Police and its membership, Hutchins said.


Special thanks to North Carolina Fraternal Order of Police President - Terry Mangum - for his presence and kind words.

 

 

 

 

Memorial Speech given by Lodge 88 President | Jason Hutchins


We pay tribute this evening to fallen law enforcement officers who served throughout Johnston County: 6 men and 1 woman of honor and courage killed in the line of duty -- who in times of challenge stood with the innocent against the guilty, with the peaceful against the violent, with the right against the wrong, with the righteous against injustice. When we take the measure of these men and women, we find heroes.
 
These officers knew where they stood and they claimed their ground with dignity and pride. They were members of a special breed, men and women passionately devoted to a profession which is more of a calling than a career.
 
They go where others fear to go, put the safety of the community before their own, and serve with dedication, compassion, purpose and integrity. 
 
It is a life of service to others you've never met, of days that start as quiet and routine and without warning turn chaotic and violent. A life in which you're never sure if the end of your shift will find you in your car going home or in an ambulance speeding to the emergency room. Nothing can be taken for granted.
 

  • Special Deputy Michael Ray Jackson lost his life as result of horrible motor vehicle traffic accident while on patrol.

  • Lieutenant Monica Carey was struck by an assailant during an undercover drug buy.

  • Deputy Paul West was shot and killed when he went to a mobile home park to verify the address of a man wanted on several warrants.

    Constable John Stroup was shot and killed by a man he was attempting to arrest for larceny, 

  • Patrolman Dennis Allen was shot and killed when he stopped a suspicious vehicle on a service road approaching I-95 by a man who had murdered another man during a robbery.

  • Officer Charles Lee was shot and killed while attempting to arrest a drunk driver. 

  • Officer Ray Gilmore was shot and killed while writing a report in his car after responding disorderly group playing loud music.
     

The men and women who wear the badge are well aware of these risks. They train, they prepare, and they are well equipped, but sometimes none of these things matter.
 
They have husbands, wives, children, mothers and fathers. They have dreams and goals and look forward to a long and peaceful retirement. But they do not shrink from their duty.  
 
They see the best and worst of us. They confront despair, cynicism, and seemingly insurmountable challenges. But still they carry on.
 
It is difficult to fathom the strength, courage and commitment which propel these officers out the door each morning. Perhaps it is because while they face incredible difficulties they are also privileged to participate in some of society's greatest moments -- seeing good men and women stand up to those who would do them and their neighbors harm-- people willing to take risks for each other.  They experience the grateful nod of appreciation from someone they helped, and feel the awe of children who want only to follow in their footsteps.
 
Perhaps it is because they respect the law, they want to help others and reduce the suffering of those in pain. They want right to prevail over wrong, they know the importance of the thin blue line.
 
The responsibility for the defense of Johnston County more and more falls upon local government and local heroes. Their commitment to this task is unquestioned. Our commitment must be equally strong.
   
For the Johnston County officers who have lost their lives protecting the public, we plan to build a memorial here which will stand as a lasting tribute to their courage and their sacrifice. It will help remind us - for a peace officer there is no challenge too difficult, no danger too great. For them it is simple: if we need help, they will come.   The courage and personal sacrifice recorded here will, I am certain, serve as an inspiration to us all including the men and women who will begin their law enforcement careers in the buildings behind me.
 
It will remind us in an age too often fraught with indifference and weakness, there are still individuals who stand tall and make a difference -- and our lives are richer for the time we have them with us.
 
To honor their legacy we must honor their example - Courage, Service, Integrity, Responsibility - We can never repay our debt to them but we must never forget...and we must do justice to their memories and the values they held so dear.
  
And finally, for the family and friends left behind, I know there are no words to ease your sorrow or change the reality of what has been taken from you.

These heroes are no longer with us. But I can tell you in our hearts, we will always remember and be grateful for your husband, your wife, your mother, your father, your sister, your brother, your daughter, your son.
 
We will make sure that their names and their memories live on in the hearts, minds, and souls of our citizens for generations to come. This is our duty and our commitment to you.
   
On behalf of Johnston County Fraternal Order of Police, myself and my family, let me conclude by again saying thank you to the men and women of our law enforcement agencies. You represent and carry forward a tradition which is a measure of human greatness and you never fall short.

Thank you for continuing to safeguard everything good and noble in our society.

  

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