Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 18, 2002
Several Butler County citizens attended a memorial service Thursday afternoon in honor and memory of fallen law enforcement officers.
The atmosphere was solemn as officers and citizens took time out of busy schedules and everyday duties to show respect to those who have lost their lives in the line of duty in law enforcement.
After the service at St. Thomas Episcopal Church followed by a reception, Greenville officers and Butler County deputies attended a graveside memorial service at the grave of fallen Greenville officer Gary Heath.
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Heath lost his life on June 14, 1994, in the line of duty.
Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon said he feels the service is a wonderful tradition that the city of Greenville has held over the past few years. "This is something that we have been doing several years and it is a tradition I am glad to see continue," he said. "The men and women who work in our police departments need to be honored."
McLendon said he is a good friend of Heath's father and was devastated the day Heath was killed. "It was a sad day in my life when he died," he said.
Butler County Sheriff Diane Harris echoed the same sentiments that McLendon expressed, and said she feels the memorial service is a very important way to recognize law enforcement officers and pay respect to those who have died in the line of duty.
"It is showing respect for our fallen officers wherever, all over the world, whether it be here in Butler County or elsewhere," she said. "It shows respect for males and females who put their lives on the line to protect the citizens of the community in which they live."
She said the service was "heart-touching" and that she felt everyone from the different agencies in Greenville came together as one to honor those fallen officers.
"Law enforcement is people working together for the betterment of the community and I think today showed that," Harris said. "Everyone came together as one. I think it was an outstanding service and the speakers were outstanding."
Harris said she was proud to see the people of Butler County who came out to pay their respect to all law enforcement officers.
Brown, minister of Southside Baptist Church, spoke during the service about taking time to remember those who have fallen, yet remembering to honor those who are still with us.