05/09/13 — A farewell to heroes

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A farewell to heroes

By John Joyce
Published in News on May 9, 2013 1:46 PM

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Lt. Carter Hicks of the Wayne County Sheriff's Office lowers his head in respect for his fallen comrades during the Law Enforcement Memorial Service at Wayne Community College Wednesday.

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Deputies stand in formation Wednesday during the Law Enforcement Memorial Service at Wayne Community College.

Their names are etched in stone at the memorial site.

The dates and circumstances of their deaths are etched in the minds of the men and women with whom they served.

Their memories are alive in the hearts of those who loved them.

On Wednesday morning on the campus of Wayne Community College, law enforcement officers and citizens from across Wayne County gathered together to honor the members of their ranks who have fallen in the line of duty.

"Recognizing those who've given their lives is a big deal," Goldsboro City Manager Scott Stevens said.

Memorial services hit home to the former Navy officer.

No matter how long ago it was that these men lost their lives, their friends and families are going to remember them, Stevens said. And the community should never forget their sacrifice.

Pressed dress uniforms and polished medals, black ribbons with the traditional thin blue line, and dark glasses were the order of the day.

The honor guard was made up of of deputies and officers from the Wayne County Sheriff's Office and Goldsboro Police Department.

The American flag rocketed to the top of the flag pole and was then slowly lowered to half staff. Uniformed law enforcement officers and the men and women of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base's 4th Security Forces Squadron in attendance rendered stiff salutes.

Of the 120 officers in the United States who gave their lives in the line of duty last year, six were from North Carolina.

Family members of some of Wayne County's fallen heroes were seated in front of the day's speakers.

Edmund Faircloth is the son of Goldsboro police Officer Frank Faircloth, who was killed in the line of duty in 1960.

His father would often let a young Edmund ride along while he was on duty, but he was not with his dad the night he died.

"I was supposed to ride with him that night, but by fate ... ," Faircloth said, his voice trailing off with the memory.

Instead he was at home when his mother heard there had been a traffic accident involving two officers. She sent her son along to find out if his father was involved. He was.

"We've been here (at the memorial service) every year for 53 years," Faircloth said.

Donna Best is the widow of Wayne County Sheriff's Office's Capt. Jerry Best, killed in 2002. He was clearing a deer carcass from the road when he was struck by a vehicle.

"This is just a very good way to honor all (fallen) law enforcement officers," Ms. Best said.

Her family and her husband's family attend every year and she expressed gratitude to the community and the law enforcement community for their thoughtfulness.

Not every officer who falls in the line of duty does so to violence. When one does, however, there is no limit to the length fellow officers will go to bring the culprit to justice, Wayne County Sheriff Carey Winders said.

Winders told the crowd the story of Wayne County's first sheriff, John Coor-Pender, who was killed in 1816.

Coor-Pender died in the line of duty and his son traced the killer all the way to the Florida Everglades. He was brought back to face justice for his crime.

Winders omitted the outcome from his speech, but after the ceremony he provided the conclusion along with a wry grin.

"They hanged him."

The names of Wayne County's fallen heroes are:

Pikeville Police Department

* Constable Zeb Lancaster, 1900

Goldsboro Police Department

* Officer Herbert C. Wiegard, 1940

* Officer Malhon M. Parks, 1960

* Officer Frank Faircloth, 1960

* Officer Walter J. Rouse, 1968

N.C. State Highway Patrol

* Trooper I.T. Moore, 1937

* Trooper Michael Martin, 1988

Fremont Police Department

* Chief Walter Braswell, 1965

Wayne County Sheriff's Office

* Sheriff John Coor-Pender, 1816

* Captain Jerry K. Best, 2002