Officers Honor Fallen Comrades

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 19, 2007

Members of a grateful community paid respects to law enforcement officials who lost their lives in service to the area and expressed their appreciation to current officers on the Greenville Police Department staff, representatives of the Butler County Sheriff's office and the Alabama Highway Patrol.

The occasion was the 11th annual Law Enforcement Memorial Service last Wednesday in the activities center of First Baptist Church.

Special tributes were paid to officers Gary Heath, Joe Herring and George Bryan, men who were killed in action in 1994, 1968 and 1904, respectively.

&#8220It takes a special person to be a police officer,” Greenville Chief Lonzo Ingram said. &#8220You must be committed to serving others, able to control your emotions when faced with adversity and always able to keep a level head.

&#8220It's a tough job and sometimes a thankless one, but I'm very proud of our folks. We have the best police department we've ever had here.”

Ingram said community support is also important to having that solid staff. &#8220We have that here,” he explained, &#8220Without it, you'd only be mediocre.”

There are 31 sworn officers in the Greenville department.

Greenville Fire Chief Mike Phillips was keynote speaker for the event. He told the group, &#8220No man was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.”

Phillips, who also knows first-hand of the commitment demanded by public service, stressed the importance of teamwork explaining, &#8220a group only becomes a team when each member is sure enough of himself and of his contribution to the team, to praise the skills of the others.”

He suggested a good test is to ask, &#8220Does my participation make our team a better team” and used a tug-of-war competition to add, &#8220to win, every member has to give an all-out effort in unison, everyone pulling together.”

Phillips said there are three kinds of problem people who can prevent a team from winning. He identified them as people who give an all-out effort, but don't pull in unison; people who hold the rope but don't pull; and people who pull in the opposite direction.

&#8220Teams,” he said, &#8220either pull together or pull apart. There is no in-between.”

The chief continued saying commitment is a key to accomplishment, people follow any example whether good or bad, a good attitude is always important, motivation determines what we do and attitude determines how well we do it.

He said, &#8220Our life today is the result of our attitudes and choices we made in the past. Our life tomorrow will be the result of our attitudes and choices we make today.”

Father Fred Lindstrom, rector of St. Thomas Episcopal Church and chaplain of the Greenville police, presided over the event, then led the annual service of placing a wreath at Heath's grave in Sunrise Cemetery.

Mayor Pro-Tem Jeddo Bell and soloist Tera Simmons also took part in the service.