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Memorial and Candlelight Vigil |
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
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.
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.
go where others fear to go, put the safety of the community
before their own, and serve with dedication, compassion, purpose
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
Special Deputy Michael Ray Jackson lost his life as result
of horrible motor vehicle traffic accident while on patrol.
Lieutenant Monica Carey
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
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
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
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.
see the best and worst of us. They confront despair, cynicism,
and seemingly insurmountable challenges. But still they carry
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.