The newly etched name of Bibb County sheriff’s investigator T. J. Freeman was unveiled Friday morning on a black granite monument in downtown Macon.
A week filled with law enforcement tributes culminated at Macon’s Public Safety Memorial Park with a remembrance of all those who died in the line of duty in Bibb County.
Freeman was killed May 5, 2016, after his patrol car crashed into a house on Montpelier Avenue after colliding with a fleeing suspect’s vehicle in Unionville.
Freeman’s family, who began the week with national ceremonies in Washington, D. C., gathered on Mulberry Street with dozens of others there to honor loved lost ones and the sacrifices of those who still serve.
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Freeman’s widow, Jessica Freeman, said it’s been a difficult year for her and their children, Braden and Blaiklyn.
“It’s been a little overwhelming, honestly,” a tired Jessica Freeman said of the week’s activities.
When reflecting on the national ceremonies and the one closer to home, she said, “It’s been beautiful.”
While they were in Washington, President Donald Trump posed for a picture with her daughter Blaiklyn. The president took another picture holding a memorial tag wtih Freeman’s badge No. 504 and his years of service.
Friday morning, Blaiklyn found her dad’s name on the shiny granite.
“Look, his name is the last one,” she said while holding a white teddy bear with angel wings.
Over the past year, Freeman’s name joined the list of the Macon police officers, Bibb sheriff’s deputies and Macon-Bibb County firefighters who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Last month, the 29-year-old investigator’s name was added to the memorial wall in the Bibb County Law Enforcement Center.
Ten members of the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office accompanied the family on the trip to the nation’s capitol.
“Washington was a very wonderful, humbling experience,” said Freeman’s mother, Vicki Lindsey. “The officers up there are simply marvelous.”
Bibb sheriff’s Maj. Tonnie Williams took pictures of the White House lit in blue.
“It’s hard to put it into words when you’re at the candlelight vigil, or at the memorial service and it’s just a sea of blue and green and gray and black, the different uniforms,” Williams said. “It’s just a humbling experience to be in the middle of so much caring, concern and love. It’s just awesome.”
After Friday’s ceremony, Freeman’s colleagues took photos with his children.
Jessica Freeman said the officers have taken good care of them over the past 12 months.
“We have had people come out of the woodwork all year,” Freeman said. “It’s been nice. It’s restored our faith in humanity a little bit.”
The Bibb County Law Enforcement Foundation hosts annual tributes to the fallen in the park near Second Street during National Police Week and on Sept. 11 to remember the dangers first responders face and honor those willing to serve.
Georgia State Patrol helicopters flew over the park’s new flag pole as bagpipes played Amazing Grace to end the service.
While the continual reminder can be hard on the children, but the tributes have a positive effect on the kids, Freeman said.
“They love knowing they’re not the only ones remembering all the good stuff their dad did.”