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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Jackson County Honors Fallen Heroes

Optimist Club of Jackson County and Crime Stoppers sponsor recognition luncheon on grounds of Sheriff’s Department
By Sid Riley
The sad tones of the bagpipe, the telling of the story of the fallen officer’s death, the tolling of the bell, and the release of the symbolic black balloon which drifts away in the noon breezes….all who watched and listened were impacted by the ceremony. The occasion was the annual Law Enforcement Day observance and the special ceremony honoring the eight Jackson County Law Enforcement personnel who have been killed in the performance of their duties. It is an occasion mixed with sadness, pride, honor, patriotism, and recognition.
Sheriff Lou Roberts began the occasion by raising the flags to half mast as bag pipes were played by Geordie Ord. Then Roberts welcomed the crowd to the event. This was followed by an invocation delivered by Jack Hollis. Then the American Legion Flag and Color Guard presented the flags.
The pledge of allegiance was led by representatives from Cub Scout Pack 170, Hunter Hutton, Auston Livingston, Chase Elkins, Ryan Mathis, and Leim McDonald. Next, Major Donnie Branch called out the names of the families of the fallen, and roses were given to recognized family members in attendance.
Don MacLaren and Shellie Hollis presented an award to the "Officer of the Year", Patrolman George Owens. Certificates of appreciation were given to Sheriff Roberts and each Chief of Police in the county.
Cailee Heinemann delivered her prize winning essay, "For Me, Optimism is…" which was a motivational dissertation on how one should approach the problems of life.
As the bagpipes sounded, Chief Hayes Baggett and Sheriff Lou Roberts placed a memorial wreath on the memorial headstone in the front lawn of the Sheriff’s Department. Finally, the roll call of the fallen officers was read by Quinton Hollis as the scouts released the balloons. As a tribute, the American Legion Honor Guard from Post 241 in Sneads did a 21 gun salute.
That ended the official ceremonies.
Don Maclaren thanked everyone for coming, and recognized dignitaries in the crowd. Reverend Jeff Ward delivered a benediction and blessed the food. Then everyone enjoyed a great, free lunch.

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