Names of 212 fallen heroes read aloud at Annual Police Memorial Service in Fayetteville

Published: May. 15, 2023 at 4:22 PM EDT
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FAYETTEVILLE, W.Va. (WVVA) - On Monday, May 15, the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 118 held its annual Police Memorial Service in Fayetteville. Usually, the ceremony is held on the front lawn of the Fayette County Courthouse, but inclement weather pushed it inside the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Building on West Maple Avenue.

While the scene of this year’s service may have changed, the meaning behind the event remained the same.

“...We are human, and we do miss our fellow brethren that have passed on,” shared James Pack, President of the Fayette County Memorial Lodge. “I think it allows the public to see that this is a sacrifice. This is a thankless job that we do, and I think it’s good to honor our law enforcement officers.”

In attendance on Monday were county leaders, family members of fallen heroes and officers from agencies across the state. Chief Deputy Rodney Purdue with the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department addressed the challenge of those officers serving today.

“For those here today who answers the call to keep our citizens safe, you know that every kiss from your spouse, every hug from your child, every visit with a parent means a little bit more- just a little bit more.”

Since June of 1863, 212 police officers have died in the line of duty in West Virginia. During the memorial service, the names of those officers were read aloud. The last name on the list was Sergeant Thomas E. Baker III with the Nicholas County Sheriff’s Department. He died after responding to a domestic violence situation in the Birch River area of the county last June.

Baker’s nephew, Aaron Evans, an officer with the Nicholas County Probation Department, was also there on Monday to pay his respects, not just to his uncle but to all his family.

“Law enforcement is a brotherhood, so everybody is related, everybody is kind, so it’s a powerful impact to see so many people honoring fallen brothers and sisters.”

The rest of Sergeant Bakers’s family was in Washington D.C. on Monday, where his name was etched into the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.

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