Fallen law enforcement officers honored at service
By Shavonne Potts
Nothing is more evident to law enforcement officers than the dangers they face on a daily basis. When one of their own dies, they all grieve.
One Tuesday, area law enforcement officers gathered to honor those fellow officers who’ve died in the line of duty and those who died off duty.
The service was held at First Presbyterian Church in Salisbury. This is the 14th memorial service. It is also National Police Week.
Dr. Jim C. Dunkin, pastor of First Presbyterian, prayed for God to be a refuge and a source of strength to those who’ve lost someone.
He also acknowledged those “who have given the ultimate gift ó the gift of their own lives.”
Salisbury Mayor Susan Kluttz honored the memory of those who served and died.
“I pray their families continue to receive God’s comfort,” she said.
“May we as a community never take for granted the blessing of your service,” she said.
Rowan County Sheriff’s Chaplain Mike Taylor read from a list of names of North Carolina officers who died from May 2008 to May 2009.
The most recent was the April 25 death of Vance County Deputy Sheriff Brandon Scott Coker.
“It grieves our hearts that we have to read any names from the North Carolina roll call of honor. Our hearts grieve today at the loss of the officers,” Taylor said.
Salisbury Police Chaplains Russell Williams and Harvey Rice read the Rowan County Roll Call of Honor prior to 2008, and officers reverently remembered, respectively.
A wreath bore white roses to honor those who continue to serve and red roses in memory of those who died. One blue carnation is placed in the wreath for all the officers reverently remembered.
The program also included a 21-gun salute, musical selections, scripture readings and the playing of “Taps.”
“Tomorrow is not a given. It could be any one of us,” said Capt. Kevin Auten, with the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office.
Auten said following the services that all officers suffer the losses.
“It’s nice to remember them and not let their legacy go,” he said.
Auten added that sometimes people tend to forget, but “life is precious. You never know.”
“It’s also nice for all the agencies to come together,” he said.
Bill and Mae Bauguess attended the service to honor their son, Deputy Rick Bauguess, who served with the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office and died in 1988.
“I think it’s great. We enjoyed the service. I appreciate them doing this in honor of the officers who give their lives,” Bill Bauguess said.
“It was a very touching service, honoring our fallen officers and those who continue to serve in the law enforcement profession. I really appreciate the community support remembering those who gave their lives serving their fellow man,” said Rockwell Police Chief Hugh Bost.
The family of Anita Horton Rilling, a probation and parole officer who died in a wreck coming home for lunch, attended. They included her father, Roger, mother Linda, and sisters Candice Love and Susan Allman.
Love said her sister loved being in law enforcement.
“She loved her job and the people she worked with,” she said.
Roger, a retired sergeant with the Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office, knew many of the officers on the list.
The family agrees that they not only honor their loved one, but they also take the day to remember others who served and died.
Sgt. B.E. Hower, of the N.C. Highway Patrol, said it is important to honor law enforcement.
“We will not easily forget them. I hope to continue to do this,” Hower said after the service.