TROY — With overcast skies and steady rain, local officers donned their dress blues and whites to remember fallen officers lost in the line of duty at the annual Miami County Police Memorial Day on Courthouse Plaza.
The Police Memorial Day 2016 started with a presentation of colors by the Miami County FOP Honor Guard. President of FOP Lodge 58 Billie Ray led the Pledge of Allegiance and the Troy High School Choir performed the national anthem.
Ohio State Highway Patrol Lt. Joe Gebhart said when he thinks of the sacrifice the fallen men and their families, as well as current law enforcement officers, have made, three words come to his mind: honor, courage, and sacrifice.
“Currently, when I look out in the crowd at the men and women in uniform today, I see great courage,” Lt. Gebhart said. “Certainly, this memorial is a small token from all of us simply to show our deepest respect and solidify our resolve that we will never forget.
“Remember, we are the thin blue line. And like a line, we shall stand straight and true and with a path that continues on and on,” Lt. Gebhart said. “We recognize these men and their families here today. Remember the best way to pay them tribute is to continue to the good fight, remain true to your principles and beliefs and put the service of others above your needs.”
Republican congressional candidate for Congress and former U.S. Army Ranger Warren Davidson served as a guest speaker and thanked law enforcement for their service and “putting it out on the line every day.”
“You guys deal with the ugly part of our country and our culture and you hold that in somehow and move on and still find the hope to go out and do it again tomorrow — and I thank you for it,” Davidson said.
The Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio President Jay McDonald thanked the families of the fallen officers for attending and recognized the officers in attendance to help remember those who were killed in the line of duty.
“We stand together in recognition and in remembrance. We pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice so that others would be safe. In fact, it may be more important than ever that we honor those who left us too soon,” McDonald said. “We are at a crossroads. Police have never been asked to do more for our communities. And despite that, we face increased danger, more violence and negative media coverage that hurts morale and impedes our ability to do our job.”
Police agency representatives then took turns reading the names of the seven fallen officers in Miami County and retold each story of how the officer died in the line of duty. Those honored were Marshall Harvey Hake of the Covington Police Department, who died Jan. 12,1917, and Patrolman George Eickmeyer of the Tipp City Police Department, who died Sept. 17, 1945.
Representatives of the Piqua Police Department honored Lt. Noah D. Studebaker, who died Oct. 17,1957; Patrolman Jan Mulder II, Aug. 11, 1970; and Detective Robert C. Taylor, Nov. 3, 1982.
Miami County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Dave Duchak read the names of Sgt. William R. “Bill” Morris and Sgt. Robert L. Elliott, who were killed on Nov. 22, 1972, and Feb. 25, 1987, respectively.
The families of the seven fallen were escorted by police officers to the memorial to lay flowers. An officer performed “Amazing Grace” on bagpipes, which was followed by the Honor Guard’s 21-gun salute.
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