memorial

J.W. Evans, Nicholas County Sheriff Deputy, left holding photo of Deputy Sheriff, Claude Hamilton and K.D. Sales, Nicholas County Sheriff Deputy, holding photo of William G. “Billy” Giacomo, march behind Fayette Co. Sheriff Deputies in front of the Fayette County Courthouse Friday for the annual Police Officer Memorial service. Also in line and not pictured is Fayette County Sheriff Deputy Adam Roberts, holding photo of Fayette County Sheriff Deputy Roger Treadway.

The tears of loved ones eventually come with less frequency.

The intensity of the heartbreak may soften slightly with time.

But they’re never forgotten.

The Fayetteville Police Department and FOP Lodge 118 conducted the annual Police Officer Memorial on the lawn of the Fayette County Courthouse Friday. The service brings together the community with law enforcement personnel from numerous local, state and federal agencies to honor the memory of officers who have perished in the line of duty.

Officers with local ties were among the roll call of honor read by Fayette County Prosecuting Attorney Carl Harris, who intoned the names of 145 law enforcement officers who have given their lives in the line of duty since West Virginia’s inception.

One of those, Senior Trooper Larry Gene Hacker, was remembered by Col. Tim Pack, superintendent of the West Virginia State Police. Hacker, of Harrisville, was shot to death on April 9, 1993, while responding to a dispute in Ritchie County.

“Larry and I were good friends,” said Pack, who noted that an officer is killed somewhere every 53 hours. “We were in the cadet class together.

“The pain is still very visible in his wife’s eyes. The pain doesn’t go away.”

While expressing his appreciation for the community’s support of law enforcement, Pack also directed comments at the officers who were present Friday. “I respect each and every one of you for what you do. I pray that God keeps you safe.”

Fayetteville attorney Anthony Salvatore, who is also Fayetteville’s municipal judge, discussed his frequent interaction with police officers in his professional career. One of his affiliations went back much further, though, as he addressed the “name of a fallen friend, William “Billy” Giacomo.” Giacomo, a Nicholas County deputy, died Sept. 11, 2000, after being shot by a man he had arrested.

Salvatore fondly recalled growing up around Giacomo in the Boomer area. He remembered a childhood rivalry in bicycles or “Big Wheel racing” and other activities with which youngsters occupy their time.

As they grew up and both branched into different segments of the law, Salvatore said being a deputy “seems to have been a perfect fit for Billy’s personality. He was brave, he was honest.” Salvatore also praised Giacomo’s compassion.

“Billy’s death will stay with me to the end of my days,” Salvatore said.

Steve Pilato, a regional representative of Gov. Joe Manchin, discussed Roger Lee Treadway, a high school friend and a Fayette County deputy who was shot and killed while on duty on Oct. 8, 1975. Pilato called Treadway “a dear, dear friend.”

“You face situations most of us cannot imagine,” Pilato said to officers assembled before him. “They challenge your character; they challenge your resolve; they challenge your courage.

“The law enforcement group never fails to step up to the challenge.”

Susie Smith, mother of the late Beckley police Detective Cpl. Chuck Smith, who was killed during an undercover drug buy in August 2006, was in attendance and said she appreciates the annual event.

“This is very important,” she said. “Every county should have one. Not just for the fallen officers, either. The ones that are still here today need to be honored and respected every day.”

Smith says it “seems like yesterday” her son perished doing what he loved. “I never want Chuck forgotten.”

Care must also be given to help the families and friends who are left behind in the wake of a tragic death, those in attendance said.

“The sacrifices made by those (officers) is also followed up by sacrifices of the families,” Pack said.

— E-mail: skeenan@register-herald.com

React to this story:

0
0
0
0
0

Trending Video