Honoring past sheriffs

Deputies Bryan Reeder, Logan Schwendeman, Pat Gherke and Alyssa McConnell of the WCSO Color Guard transport flowers and flags to seven former sheriffs of the county on Wednesday at Oak Grove Cemetery.

Members of local law enforcement, public officials and members of the community gathered at Oak Grove Cemetery in Marietta Wednesday to remember seven former Washington County sheriffs as part of Police Week 2019. Beautiful spring weather greeted the attendees of the ceremony as sunny skies and a light breeze guided them through the cemetery to visit the graves and pay honor to those who served the community before them.

The ceremony started with Sheriff Larry Mincks reading a brief history of former sheriffs Augustus Winsor 1827 to 1905, Junia Jennings 1800 to 1871, Willard Lindamood 1885 to 1966, Henry Posey 1847 to 1915, John McCallister 1844 to 1932, Samuel Grosvenor 1827 to 1918 and William Dye 1845 to 1903. Mincks and the sheriff’s office color guard, with approximately 40 attendees in tow, then visited the graves of the former sheriffs in order to place wreaths and flags at their markers.

“It’s important for the community and officers to remember the people that served before us,” said Mincks.

Mincks said that people in law enforcement have been facing a lot of negative national press recently, and hopes ceremonies like these help people understand the importance of serving their communities.

“We’re in a period of time where the country is going through turmoil about law enforcement,” he said. “It is an honorable profession.”

WCSO Color Guard members Alyssa McConnell, Logan Schwendenman, Pat Gherke and Bryan Reeder stand at attention as Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks reads a brief history of seven former sheriffs on Wednesday at the Oak Grove Cemetery.

Capt. Aaron Nedeff of the Marietta Police Department attended the ceremony and said the people being honored on Wednesday are more than just moments in the county’s history, they are the foundation that made the law enforcement agencies in the county what they are today.

“It’s all their glory and their mistakes…we learned from everything they did,” Nedeff said.

Nedeff said his department also took time during the nationwide Police Week to remember those who served and paid the ultimate price. Nedeff said the grave of Harrison Boyd, an officer who was killed in 1925 when interrupting a burglary at a grocery store, was one of the first resting places the MPD marked to let people know of his sacrifice.

“There was nothing on his marker to even let people know he was killed in the line of duty,” he said.

So on Monday, Nedeff said he and other members of the Marietta Police Department placed markers at the graves of five officers at Oak Grove Cemetery to honor and to let people know of their service.

CHAD PLAUCHE-ADKINS The Marietta Times Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks accepts flowers from WCSO Color Guard member Pat Gherke to be placed at the marker of Willard Lindamood , former sheriff of Washington County, on Wednesday at Oak Grove Cemetery.

Washington County Commissioner Ron Feathers said valuable lessons can be learned from remembering the history of the community and those that served it.

“We need to look to the past so we don’t lose sight of the future,” he said.

Continuing with Police Week 2019 ceremonies, the sheriff’s office also hosted an awards luncheon on Wednesday that honored its deputies for excellence in several areas of law enforcement.

The most prestigious of the awards, 2018 Deputy of the Year, went to color guard member Alyssa McConnell. During a previous award ceremony for first responders in April, Mincks let the public know of McConnell’s award.

“Her objective is to put criminals behind bars,” Mincks said. “She already has 12 felony arrests this year…and I’ll go ahead and say she is the (Washington County Sheriff’s Office) employee of the year for 2018.”

Lt. Kevin Hornbeck received a certificate of merit for his role in the attempt to save the life of a county resident on Nov. 25. Lt. Marvin Smith was presented with the corrections officer of the year for his service at the Washington County Jail. Deputy Loretta Parks received an award for valor after receiving injuries arresting Andrew McCarty, 30, of Lower Salem on Nov. 25.

Det. T.B. Lockhart, Det. Scott Smeeks and Det. Spencer McPeek were honored with an award for excellence for their role in the investigation of a Nov. 27 home invasion in New Matamoras. During the invasion of the home, the victim received a fractured skull and thousands of dollars of money and items were stolen. The trio’s investigation helped with the indictments of five people connected with the crime.

Sgt. Jennifer Erb received Dispatcher of the Year and Deputy Todd Moyers was given the 2018 Security and Transportation Officer of the Year. Douglas A. Aultman, RN, Nurse Supervisor at the jail and Sgt. Alicia C. Strahler were recipients of the lifesaver award from the office. The yearly awards wrapped up with corrections officer Dustin Timberman getting an accommodation letter.

At a glance

•Members of local law enforcement agencies gathered Wednesday to honor seven former sheriffs of Washington County.

•Flowers and flags were placed at their graves in Oak Grove Cemetery for Police Week 2019.

•The Marietta Police Department put up markers for five of their own at the cemetery on Monday.

2018 Washington County Sheriff’s Office award winners.

-Deputy of the Year: Deputy Alyssa McConnell.

-Certificate of Merit: Lt. Kevin Hornbeck.

-Corrections Officer of the Year: Lt. Marvin Smith.

-Valor: Deputy Loretta Parks.

-Excellence: Det. T.B. Lockhart, Det. Scott Smeeks and Det. Spencer McPeek.

-Dispatcher of the Year: Sgt. Jennifer Erb.

-Security and Transportation Officer of the Year: Deputy Todd Moyers.

-Lifesavers: Douglas A. Aultman, RN, Nurse Supervisor and Sgt. Alicia C. Strahler.

-Accommodation: C/O Dustin Timberman.

Source: Times research.

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