Fallen — but never forgotten

By Anthony Weber

April 30, 2014

By Will E Sanders

TROY — A somber remembrance of fallen law enforcement officers unfolded in the courthouse plaza Wednesday as every police jurisdiction in the county came together and honored the seven fallen officers during Miami County Police Memorial Day.

The president of FOP Lodge 58, Marty Grove, also a deputy chief with the Piqua Police Department, greeted those who attended the ceremony, which included not just members of law enforcement, but also elected officials, citizens, a classroom of students from Van Cleve, and surviving family members of fallen officers.

Grove thanked the crowd of nearly 200, but said the most important thank you deserves to go to the families of fallen officers.

“A simple thank you does not seem like enough to show our extreme gratitude for what you have endured and continue to endure,” Grove said. “The loss of a loved one is never easy, but take some comfort in knowing these heroes of Miami County will never be forgotten. Their memories are more than just names etched in our memorial. They are forever in our hearts and thoughts.”

One of two guest speakers at the event, Ohio Sen. Bill Beagle of Tipp City, began by announcing that this week legislation was approved to rename a portion of State Route 41 in between Troy and Covington after fallen sheriff’s deputy Sgt. Robert Elliott.

“Today is a day about those that are fallen and their families, to honor them, and all others who serve on the front lines of safety,” Beagle said. “Thanks to all of you who make sacrifices everyday in order to protect and serve, and a special thank you for those who have given their lives in the line of duty so others may enjoy peace and safety.”

Miami County Prosecutor Tony Kendell also took to the podium to address the crowd and said the officers on the county’s law enforcement memorial represent officers “who proudly wore the badge and uniforms of Miami County law enforcement,” but who “made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Kendell also talked about the law enforcement monument and what it means.

“This monument is about sacrifice, courage and grief, but it is also about hope and love,” Kendell said. “It is here as evidence, in stone, that we will never forget these officers. Like the black-banded badges and the flags flying at half-staff, it is a symbol of the commitment that these officers brought to their mission.”

The county’s police memorial was dedicated in 1999 to law enforcement officers who have been killed in the line of duty.

Seven members of law enforcement agencies throughout Miami County are engraved onto the monument’s granite surface, and they consist of: Marshall Harvey Hake, Covington Police Department, Jan. 12, 1917; Patrolman George Eickmeyer, Tipp City Police Department, Sept. 17, 1945; Lt. Noah Studebaker, Piqua Police Department, Oct. 17, 1957; Patrolman Jan Mulder II, Piqua Police Department, Aug. 11, 1970; Sgt. William R. Morris, Miami County Sheriff’s Office, Nov. 22, 1972; Detective Robert Taylor, Piqua Police Department, Nov. 3, 1982; and Sgt. Robert L. Elliott, Miami County Sheriff’s Office, Feb. 25, 1987.

The somber ceremony of remembrance also featured the presentation of colors by the FOP Honor Guard; an opening and closing prayer by two different chaplains, pastors Greg Simmons and Phil Elmore; a proclamation given by county commissioners, John “Bud” O’Brien and Jack Evans; a placement of flowers by family members of the fallen officers; a 21-gun salute, the playing Taps; and the retirement of colors.

Will E Sanders may be reached at 773-2721 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall.