Published on Saturday, February 26, 2006
in the Daytona Beach News-Journal
EDGEWATER -- Car wrecks. Burning buildings. Armed robberies.
Every day people in need call police officers and firefighters, who lay their lives on the line to protect the public.
Sometimes an everyday hero becomes a fallen hero. To honor those in Volusia and Flagler counties, a crowd of about 150 gathered Saturday at Sea Pines Memorial Gardens.
"They're the ones we reach out to when our lives are in danger," said Oak Hill Mayor Mike Thompson. "How comforting that someone is protecting our lives."
Saturday's event was emotional for members of the New Smyrna Beach Police Department. It was their first memorial service since losing Officer Roy Nelson in August, said Chief Ron Pagano.
"This was more difficult, more emotional for us," Pagano said afterwards.
Nelson, 36, and his K-9 partner Ceasar, died Aug. 13 when his patrol car hit a guardrail and flipped on the South Causeway after swerving to avoid a truck while responding to a call.
His widow, Angie, and their children attended Saturday's service, surrounded by officers who offered hugs and support.
Nelson was a great officer, father and husband, Pagano said in remarks to the crowd. "Angie we still love ya' and we think about you every day."
Pagano said the department checks on Nelson's family at least a couple of times a week and will send officers to escort her to the annual memorial service at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C., later this spring.
It's one of three annual memorials planned in the months to come, Pagano said. The annual Volusia County event is planned for 9 a.m. May 19 at a Daytona Beach cemetery, said Kelli Grim, daughter-in-law of Bob Grim, an Ormond Beach officer who was killed in the line of duty in an accident in November 2004.
Ceremonies like Saturday's are rewarding for officers and firefighters and their families, said Lt. Cliff Williams, who leads the honor guard for the Volusia County Sheriff's Office.
Williams was one of several who said it's rare for officers and firefighters to receive even a simple thank you.
"When we are safe we complain and criticize," Thompson said. "Let us bury our complaints and criticisms and offer our respect."
Edgewater Mayor Mike Thomas said he shared a special kinship with the law officers after 30 years as an officer with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, a job called game warden in the old days.
"I got shot at. They tried to stab me. I've been hit. I've been gator bit and I've been dog bit," Thomas said. "You don't do it for the pay, you do it because you believe in it."
The ceremony featured a 21-gun volley by the Volusia County Sheriff's honor guard, a flyover by the Spruce Creek Gaggle, presentation of colors and a wreath by the American Legion Edgewater Post 285 color guard and music by the Colonial Highlanders Bag Pipes.
Pagano read the names of fallen officers from Volusia and Flagler counties. That was followed by a list of the names of fallen firefighters by New Smyrna Beach Fire Chief Tim Hawver.
Several officers paid their respects at the grave of Nelson and his dog Ceasar, leaving behind a flower bouquet and dog biscuits.
1960 Frank E. Viall
1980 Marlin K. Bennett, Daytona Beach
1984 Jack L. Pratt, New Smyrna Beach
1986 George R. Kennedy, Edgewater
1991 James D. Sapp , New Smyrna Beach
1991 Mark A. Wilkes, New Smyrna Beach
1993 Gordon S. Moore
2002 Vaughn R. Lemmond, Daytona Beach
2004 David A. Mackie, Orange City
1895 Jefferson D. Kurtz, Volusia County Sheriff
1898 William Kremer, Volusia County Sheriff's Office
1907 Charles M. Kurtz, Volusia County Sheriff's Office
1907 William P. Edwards, Volusia County Sheriff's Office
1927 Perry Hall, Flagler County Sheriff
1927 George W. Durrance, Flagler County Sheriff's Office
1927 Frank A. Smith,
1930 Lewis Tanner, Daytona Beach Police Department
1931 Benny Stricklin, Daytona Beach Police Department
1932 L. B. Hall, Daytona Beach Police Department
1937 Willie Denson, Daytona Beach Police Department
1942 Elmer Michael, DeLand Police Department
1945 Harry Raines, Daytona Beach Police Department
1961 Edwin Gasque, Florida Highway Patrol
1974 Alva Hayman,
1979 George Tinsley, DeLand Police Department
1979 Donald Shackelford, Volusia County Sheriff's Office
1980 Sam Etheredge, Jr., Daytona Beach Police Department
1981 Greg Sorenson, Daytona Beach Police Department
1982 Stephen Saboda, Volusia County Sheriff's Office
1987 Tim Pollard, Ponce Inlet Police Department
1998 Kevin J. Fischer, Daytona Beach Police Department
2003 Charles T. Sease , Flagler County Sheriff's Office
2004 Darryl L. Haywood Sr., Florida Highway Patrol
2004 Robert F. Grim, Sr., Ormond Beach Police Department
2005 Roy L. Nelson , Jr., New Smyrna Beach Police Department