Candlelight vigil in Warner Robins pays tribute to fallen officers

bpurser@macon.comMay 12, 2014 


Houston County District Attorney George Hartwig, left, who was himself a former police officer, pays tribute to fallen law enforcement officers during National Police Week ceremonies at Southside Baptist Church.


WARNER ROBINS -- A candlelight vigil Monday night honored the men and women who have lost their lives in the line of duty protecting their communities and their nation.

District Attorney George Hartwig noted at the event at Southside Baptist Church that people who serve in law enforcement are unique. He said they run toward situations that most people run away from.

Hartwig cited John 15:13 of the Bible that says, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” He said law enforcement officers lay down their lives daily for people who they don’t even know and often for people such as drug dealers and other criminals.

Sometimes, he said, that costs them their lives.

Hartwig urged law enforcement officials attending the ceremony to pray for and support each other and to stand strong.

The ceremony included the posting of the colors by the 78th Security Forces Squadron at Robins Air Force Base and the Warner Robins Police Department, the singing of the National Anthem and an invocation by Jerry Wall, the pastor of Southside Baptist. The 78th also conducted a flag folding ceremony, Georgia State Patrol Trooper Dan Bray played the bagpipes and a poem was read in honor of those who gave their lives.

As the names of those who died in the line of duty were called, a civilian or military officer lighted a candle in front of a large photo of each person.

Among those honored was Eatonton police officer Noel Lee Hawk, who died May 4 from a heart attack shortly after helping break up a fight at a fast-food restaurant. Also remembered were DeKalb County police officer Ivorie G. Klusmann, Columbus police Cpl. Thomas Keith Slay and Barwick police Chief Anthony Quinn Barfield Sr.

The ceremony also paid tribute to military and federal law enforcement officers who died elsewhere in the line of duty in 2013. Those men include Air Force Staff Sgt. Todd J. Lobraico Jr., 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 tribute to fallen officers was part of a series of events Houston County law enforcement agencies and the 78th Security Forces Squadron organized to mark National Police Week.

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