GREENVILLE—Back the Blue Memorial Ceremony held its annual Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony at the Darke County Fairgrounds coliseumon Saturday evening.
The ceremony honors officers from across the nation who passed in the line of duty in 2022.
The annual, free-to-public event featured food trucks, and several speakers and performers.
Performers included singers Kevin Davison and Jenn Bostic. The singers held preconcerts, as well as performed during the ceremony.
The two major sponsors were Spirit Medical Transport and Zechar Bailey Funeral Home.
Greg Zechar, Funeral Director at Zechar Bailey Funeral Home, said the event is his way of supporting the community.
“I have such a love and respect for law enforcement,” he said. “I like to raise awareness, and help to support them in their daily lives and their jobs.
Additionally, Ricki Francis; widow of Officer Dominic Francis, Officer Chris Dorman of the Folcroft, Penn. Police Department and Bluffton Police Chief Ryan Burkholder spoke on their experiences in the field.
Officer Dorman was shot seven times while on duty.
“I want to share my story, and staying in the fight,” he said. “When you’re down, get back up and don’t give up.”
He added that although it’s a different world for police than it was years ago, he still motivates young people to join the field.
“I’d absolutely encourage young people to get involved,” he said. “The only way to defeat evil is to have more good.”
In addition to speakers and police officers, several local public officials were in attendance.
Mayor-Elect Jeff Whitaker was there, and said he’s thankful community members took the time to come out and honor fallen officers.
“I think this is a wonderful event that so manny people come out and honor all of our police officers, from not only Greenville but all over the area,” he said. “The fact that they are honoring the fallen officers from all over the county—It’s sad to see so many pages of names listed.”
As the incoming Mayor of Greenville, Whitaker said he will have our first responders’ backs.
“I always have [looked out for first responders],” he said. “They provide for our safety. If the people in our community can’t feel safe, you really don’t have a community. Our police officers, fire department and EMS here in Greenville do an excellent job. They are always going to have my support.”
Before he finished, Officer Dorman spoke directly to his fellow officers.
“If you’re out there on the streets working, be safe,” he said. “Always have each other’s backs.”
For more information on the Back the Blue Memorial Ceremony, go to their Facebook Page.