Community honors fallen law enforcement officers during memorial service

  • Posted: Thursday, May 16, 2013 1:01 a.m.
    UPDATED: Thursday, May 16, 2013 1:37 a.m.
Rowan County Sheriff Master Explorers Troy Agner and Justin Holmes salute.
Rowan County Sheriff Master Explorers Troy Agner and Justin Holmes salute.

It was an honor for Mark Reese to attend the annual Peace Officer’s Memorial Service at a time when he and his family still mourn the loss of his father, Salisbury Police Sgt. Mark Hunter, who died nearly a month ago.

Reese attended the Wednesday service with his mother, Joyce, and other family members at First Presbyterian Church. Reese had never attended the service, but was appreciative of the recognition his father was shown during the service. This is the 18th year for the service held during National Police Week. Also during the service, law enforcement officials, judicial personnel, family and friends took a moment to remember those who have lost their lives in the line of duty while in service to their community.

“It’s a great feeling because of all the officers who gave their life in the line of duty. It’s emotional,” he said.

Reese said although his father is not physically with him, his presence is felt every day. He said his family is thankful to Salisbury Police Chief Rory Collins, the Salisbury Police Department and the city as a whole for their care and concern for his family through the last month.

He also was thankful for those who remembered not only his father, but all of the officers who have died while serving the community. The service keeps those officers’ memories alive, Reese said.

The service began with the placing of a wreath with flowers that represent officers who continue to protect and serve, those who have died and those killed in the line of duty.

Rockwell Police Chief Hugh Bost, who welcomed everyone to the service, said he was glad to see people continue to honor those who have “given the ultimate sacrifice.” Bost cited the FBI release this week of 47 law enforcement officers being killed in the line of duty in 2012.

“It’s 47 who shouldn’t have lost their lives,” he said.

Bost asked that everyone not forget the fallen.

Spencer Police Chief Michael James recalled two classmates who lost their lives, their dates of death forever etched in his memories. James spoke of attending the national memorial service in Washington.

“Unfortunately we can’t all travel to Washington. I’m grateful we can all gather here to pay tribute to our fallen officers,” he said.

“It is my fervent prayer that God protect all law enforcement officers,” James said.

Salisbury Police Chaplain Tom Teichroew offered a scripture lesson from Romans 13 that talks about having respect for authority, who are God’s servants.

The names of those who have died in the state were called, as were those who died in Rowan County prior to 2012.

Both Salisbury Police Sgt. Mark Hunter and Salisbury Officer Wiley Lamm were remembered. Lamm died in September after battling cancer.

Participating in the service were Salisbury Police Cadets and members of the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office Explorers programs. Sgt. R.A. Amerson presides over the Explorers, who’ve participated in the program for the last three years.

The Explorers placed the wreath at the front of the church during the service.

Justin Holmes, 16, is one of those in the program. He’s been an Explorer for three years and joined as a way to learn about the career he intends to pursue.

“Ever since I was little I’ve wanted to be in law enforcement,” Holmes said.

He said it was an honor to take part in the service in a program that honors the fallen, he said.

Zahra Khan, 18, also an Explorer, has been with the program for nearly five years. The program is a good way to get involved in community service, she said.

Community activist William Peoples said he’s attended the service for a number of years.

“It’s good for community support. It’s a tough job, but where would we be without law and order?” Peoples said.

Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253. Twitter: Facebook:

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