OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – It was an emotional day Friday for hundreds of Oklahomans gathered at the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Memorial to honor the lives of those who have died in the line of duty.
“There’s no way to know what evil things didn’t happen because of their bravery and their faithful service,” said Governor Kevin Stitt.
Each name read aloud, while loved ones placed a rose on a board to honor the member of law enforcement and their families.
“It’s one of those things, we never got to say goodbye to him. It happened so quickly,” said Hope Willis who lost her husband 15 years ago.
Trooper William McClendon was responding to an emergency call, and was near Claremore when he was killed after a wreck with a semi-truck.
Willis says this ceremony still brings her peace.
“Sometimes, you know, you kind of feel forgotten, about things, but we’ve never felt that way. Over the 15 years we’ve never felt that way,” she said.
Trooper McClendon’s daughter, Kendra Ludwyck, also there.
Now, with a 2-year-old daughter of her own.
“This was our first, grandbaby, would’ve been his and he would’ve loved her,” she said, “it’s nice to be able to come to stuff like this that they still honor him so that she never forgets him.”
Sergeant Craig Johnson with the Tulsa Police Department was among those honored.
He was shot and killed during a traffic stop back in June.
“To the peace officers whose names are carved in stone here, the people of Oklahoma are forever in your debt,” said Stitt.
Many of these family’s, now bonded by tragedy, but also holding on to the memories.
“Today we pause to remember each of them but today we also look forward,” said the Chaplain Sam Garner.
All remembering they weren’t “heroes because they died, but because of the lives they lived.”
The eleven names added to the memorial today were:
- Jesse Whitfield Morris, Deputy Sheriff, Washita County.
- John Sanders, Deputy Sheriff, Adair County.
- H. Corder, Deputy Sheriff, Ottawa County.
- Raymond Thomas “Buck” Boston, Sheriff, Montgomery County, Illinois.
- Dale Maloy Harbolt, Special Agent, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Treasury Department.
- John Chukwydiut Okafor, Corporal, Detention Officer, Tulsa County.
- Craig Vincent Johnson, Sergeant, Tulsa Police Department.
- Jeffery Wade Sewell, Captain, Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
- Jerad Matthew Lindsey, Officer, Tulsa Police Department.
- Billy Dewayne Allen, Sr., U.S. Department of Defense Fort Sill Police Department.
- Lindal “Dewayne” Hall, Chief Deputy Sheriff, McIntosh County.
In addition, Canine Partner, Oli, Muskogee Police Department, was added to the memorial.