Officers from all units and agencies of Carroll County law enforcement took time to remember their lost brothers and sisters Thursday during the annual Peace Officers Memorial Day Service at the VFW Post 1115 in Hillsville.
During a touching tribute put on by the local veterans group, men like Lewis Webb, the Carroll County Sheriff killed March 14, 1912 in the Carroll County Courthouse shootings, were honored for paying the ultimate sacrifice. Others, such as Emory Mabry, a Carroll County Deputy Sheriff killed April 22, 1974, and Charles Morris, a Virginia State Police officer from Carroll killed in the line of duty March 22, 1962 in Patrick County, were remembered.
Others like Cliff Dicker, a Wythe County Deputy slain in the line of duty in 1994, and Scott Hylton, a former Hillsville Police Officer, who was shot and killed after responding to a shoplifting call at a convenience store in Christiansburg in 2003, were honored for their sacrifices.
“Today we are here to honor and remember those who put their lives on the line every day. We can’t say thank you loud enough or often enough,” said Don Dobbins, Commander of Color Guard and Funeral Details at VFW Post 1115. “Last year, 27 law enforcement officers lost their lives in the line of duty.”
Of those 27, seven were killed by ambush, four during unprovoked attacks, three during domestic disputes, five were engaged in tactical situations, three were investigating suspicious circumstances, and three were conducting traffic pursuits or stops. Firearms were used in 26 of the 27 instances.
“These are numbers, that’s all they are. They are stats. It says nothing about the human equation. It says nothing about the single parent who must now raise their family and bare that burden alone. It says nothing about the children whose fathers or mothers won’t be there to see them once they graduate or to walk them down the aisle on that special day, or even hold their grandchildren when that time comes,” Dobbins said. “To you I can’t say thank you enough or often enough, but once again we appreciate you…We are glad we have you and so glad you allow us to share in this very special day.”
The ceremony concluded with VFW member Burney Tilley performing “Taps” on the trumpet to remember those killed in the line of duty. It was followed by a bagpipe rendition of “Amazing Grace,” a traditional song played at the funeral of every peace officer.
Before the ceremony was over, the local VFW vets made sure to pay tribute to those still on the beat, willing to give it all to protect and serve their community.
“Now, may the road of life stretch out before you straight and free of curves, the sun gently warm your face and the wind stay at your back, the gentle rain fall softly on your fields and gardens, and the good Lord keep you in the palm of his precious and loving hands, shielding and protecting us until we all meet again, in his name,” Dobbins said. “Thank you.”