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VFW honors police officers

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VFW holds annual event thanking officers for their service, and those who have fallen in the line of duty.

By Shaina Stockton

HILLSVILLE — Uniformed officers lined up inside the Grover King VFW Post 1115 on the morning of May 15, as the smell of crisp bacon, country ham, sausage, biscuits, gravy, scrambled eggs and donuts wafted from the kitchen.

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With plates piled high, the officers sat around a group of large tables, and took some time to enjoy their meal as well as each other’s company — a small break from their otherwise hectic schedules.
The meal, followed by a small ceremony, is the VFW’s annual thank-you to local officers, along with their brothers who have fallen in the line of duty. The event is held each year as their observance of National Police Week. Invitations are extended to local police agencies across the Twin Counties.
Don Dobbins, who led the indoor ceremony as a spring storm raged on outside, took a moment to thank the officers for the risk they take with their jobs each day.
According to a report by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 111 law enforcement officers in the U.S. were killed in the line of duty in 2013.
“But numbers say nothing about the human equation,” said Dobbins. He described the spouses that are left with broken hearts, and children who are left with broken families. So while the number stands at 111, there are hundreds, if not thousands more behind those individuals who were impacted.
To the officers present, Dobbins recognized their bravery in putting on their uniforms and going out into the world each day.
“A man in a uniform makes a lot of enemies,” he said, and no officer quite knows where these enemies are or what they are capable of. Today, even the smallest traffic stop could end in devastation.
“But officers… they touch a lot of people with what they do… and we cannot say thank you loud enough, or often enough, for what you do.”
Following his speech, the group was led in prayer after a few officers named some of the fallen brothers they wanted to specifically recognize. Mentioned were Clifford Dicker of the Wythe County Sheriff’s Department, who died by gunfire in 1994; Scott Hylton of the Christiansburg Police Department (formerly of the Hillsville Police department), who died by gunfire in 2003; Virginia State Trooper Andrew Fox, who was struck by a vehicle and killed in 2012; Sheriff Lewis Webb of the Carroll County Sheriff’s office, who was shot and killed during the Courthouse Tragedy in 1912; Deputy Sheriff Emery Mabry of the Carroll County Sheriff’s office, who died by gunner in 1974; Charles “Gene” Morris of the Virginia State Police in Patrick County, who died by gunfire in 1962; Posey Martin of the Galax Police Department, who was stabbed and killed in 1935; and McGuffey Coomes, a federal revenue agent who was killed in 1925.
“Taps” was played, as well as a bagpipe rendition of “Amazing Grace.”
The VFW Post was assisted by The Ladies Auxiliary for the event.