PARKERSBURG - About 200 local law enforcement officers and residents gathered Tuesday to celebrate National Police Week in downtown Parkersburg in a program coordinated by Fraternal Order of Police Blennerhassett Lodge 79.
U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., was the guest speaker for the annual Police Week Awards Ceremony by Lodge 79 to recognize its members and those who work with the lodge to support those members and the community.
Following the laying of two memorial wreathes at the Parkersburg City Hall Plaza to honor police officers killed or disabled in the line of duty and a bagpipe tribute, Tuesday's program moved into the Judge Black Annex for remarks by Capito and the presentation of awards and scholarships by Lodge 79.
Photos by Wayne Towner
U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, at center, stands with members of local law enforcement agencies for the laying of a wreath Tuesday in Parkersburg in honor of National Police Week.
"In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation which designated the week of May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and National Police Week," said Lodge 79 President Joe Gonzales. "This week is to honor those officers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in giving their lives in the line of duty."
Capito expressed her appreciation - and that of others - for the work done by the officers and departments represented by the FOP and many such organizations.
"I want to say today is a very somber day. The prayer that was offered at the wreath-laying was very poignant for me and, I think, for everyone that was listening because it reinforces to all of us that there's a greater being watching over all of us and a greater being watching over law enforcement officers in the dangerous work that they do every single day," Capito said.
Capito was pleased by the turnout for Tuesday's ceremony because of the support it shows for law enforcement.
"I think opportunities like this help us erase the boundaries and show our appreciation toward the officers, their families, their friends, their communities. I want to thank you all for making that sacrifice," she said.
Lodge 79 presented several awards Tuesday, recognizing officers, community members and spouses for their efforts on behalf of their communities, departments and the lodge and its activities. The awards included:
The Charles L. Plum Memorial Award - Christopher E. Morehead, Parkersburg Police Department.
The Distinguished Citizen of the Year Award - Doug Flint.
The Chief Gary D. Deem Lifetime Achievement Award - Jack Hunley, (retired) Parkersburg Police Department and Rick Modesitt, (retired) Parkersburg Police Department.
The Half Unit of the Year Award (for spouses of FOP members) - Gale Vensel.
Five FOP college scholarships were also presented, including Taylor Renae Hughes, Kelsey Renee Carpenter, Katherine Gonzales, Michael Blaine Ritchie and BrookAnne Dixon.