FOP honors fallen comrades

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Last year, 153 police officers from across the country gave the ultimate sacrifice for those they protect. For the first time in seven decades, one of them was from Suffolk.

In memory of officer Drew Henley, who died in the line of duty of March 19, the Suffolk Lodge No. 41 Fraternal Order of Police held its annual Law Enforcement Memorial Day Services.

Vice mayor Leroy Bennett and Chief William Freeman presented a proclamation.

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&uot;I would like to say thanks to all the men and women that serve the safety of our city,&uot; Bennett said. &uot;For the ones that lost their lives, we cannot say thank you enough, because every day, police officers put their lives on the line for our city.

&uot;These officers devoted their lives to enforce laws and bring criminals to justice,&uot; he said of the deceased, reading from the proclamation that Mayor Bobby Ralph had signed. &uot;They made our city safer.&uot;

The Lodge Honor Guard presented four memorial wreaths, and city employee LaNita Wiggins sang &uot;Amazing Grace.&uot; Tomorrow morning, the Police Unity Tour bicycling event will leave from Chesapeake on the way to Washington D.C. The events raises money for the upkeep of the Police Memorial in D.C. and the cost of adding the names of officers killed in the line of duty.

This year, officer George T. Smith, who was killed in 1908, will be added, joining Chief W.E. Brinkley, who died in 1918, and Joseph Pratt, killed in 1935. Henley’s name will go up next year.

&uot;The Suffolk Police Department lost a true hero when officer William A. &uot;Drew&uot; Henley lost his life in the service of the community he so loved,&uot; said Capt. John Brooks. &uot;As we reflect today, let us not forget those officers who could not be with us today as they continue to serve our country in our nation’s Armed Forces. Our thoughts and prayer are with our law enforcement professionals each and every day as they continue to strike to build safer communities.&uot;

&uot;I think it’s wonderful,&uot; said Henley’s widow Chrissy, whose husband was honored last week at a similar ceremony in D.C. He also received the Medal of Valor and the Lifesaving Award for pulling a man out of the way of a speeding train the night before he died. &uot;(Drew) would never have believed this; he was too modest and humble. It’s a tragedy, but these memorials remind me of how great he was.&uot;