WARNER ROBINS -- An Eatonton police officer who died from a heart attack shortly after helping to break up a fight at a fast-food restaurant will be among those honored Monday at a candlelight vigil for fallen law enforcement officers.
Noel Lee Hawk, 52, of Madison, was among several officers who responded May 4 to a dispute between an adult and juvenile at the McDonalds on Oak Street. The situation was diffused, and the officers left, police said.
But it heated up again after several friends and family members arrived. Officers returned, and while two individuals were being arrested, Hawk collapsed, police said. CPR attempts failed to revive him. He was taken by ambulance to Putnam County Hospital, where he died.
Hawk, a 12-year member of the Eatonton Police Department who previously served with the Morgan County Sheriffs Office, is survived by his wife, five children, a brother and his parents.
The candlelight vigil will also honor three other Georgia police officers and a police dog as well as five military and federal law enforcement officers who served in Georgia and died in the line of duty in 2013.
Those officers are DeKalb County police Officer Ivorie G. Klusmann, Columbus police Cpl. Thomas Keith Slay, Barwick police Chief Anthony Quinn Barfield Sr., Woodstock police K-9 Spartacus, U.S. Coast Guard Office of Law Enforcement Petty Officer Travis Raymond Obendorf, U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division Special Agent Joseph Michael Peters, Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent James Terry Watson, FBI Special Agent Stephen Palmer Shaw and FBI Special Agent Christopher William Lorek.
The 6:30 p.m. vigil at Southside Baptist Church in Warner Robins is open to the public. Houston County District Attorney George Hartwig is the guest speaker.
The tribute to fallen officers is part of a series of events law enforcement agencies in Houston County have organized to mark National Police Week.
It hits home for all of us, said Houston County sheriffs Sgt. Gary Turley, who is helping coordinate the events. We may not know the person, but its a brotherhood that we have in law enforcement. It really makes you sit back and think, Man, it could happen to me at any given second.
National Police Week falls on the calendar week of May 15, which is Peace Officers Memorial Day to honor officers who gave their lives in the line of duty. Police week recognizes the service of men and women who selflessly put their lives in harms way every day.
Its hard to put into words, Turley said. I just want people to see that we are human beings.
Were not always that bad person thats there to take somebody away to prison or somebody away for what they did wrong. Were there to help the community, too, he said.
At 6:50 a.m. Monday, a reveille ceremony will take place outside the Warner Robins Law Enforcement Center and include a flag-raising to open police week. The week will continue with a variety of events, some open to the public and some only for law enforcement.
Funds raised from registration fees from various events will go to Concerns of Police Survivors, a nonprofit that helps spouses and families of fallen officers, Turley said. Theres a chapter in Gray that was started by Warner Robins police Capt. John Clay, Turley said.
To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.