Muskegon County 2018 Police Memorial: Remembering fallen officers

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LEGAL NEWS PHOTOS BY CYNTHIA PRICE

by Diana L. Coleman
Legal News

Muskegon County has once again presented a beautiful tribute to fallen officers in the Muskegon area.

Each year this ceremony becomes more meaningful. Families of the fallen officers continue to attend and place flowers at the base of their loved one’s photo, and a representative of each fallen officer’s municipality also stands at attention and salutes the fallen officer.

This year’s ceremonies were hosted by Brian Harris, retired Muskegon County Sheriff’s Department and current President of the Charles D Hammond Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 99. 

The program began with the Muskegon County Honor Guard presenting the colors.  Vocalist and guitarist Tommy Foster sang “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” as a tribute to those lost in duty.

The guest speaker was Chief Edward Viverette of the North Muskegon Police Department.  “Joining a police department is like joining a family,” said Viverette. “We give up holidays, birthday, sporting events and family time, but we do it willingly in service to our communities.”

An officer does not always appreciate what his/her family goes through when they leave for work each day, wondering if they will return home, he said. An officer not only has regular patrol, but many are involved in working with SWAT, as plainclothes officers, and other special units that greatly affect their families. “We do this willingly and our officers deserve the thanks of the community,” said Viverette.  “Thank them for their sacrifice.”

Viverette went on to explain that he experienced the fear that all law enforcement families experience when his son, an officer for Wayne State University in Detroit, was on duty the night that one of his fellow Wayne State officers was killed.  “I knew the fear our families feel until I found out if my son was okay,” said Viverette.

Chief Viverette had the honor of reading the Roll Call of fallen officers this year. Two new names were added to the Wall of Honor.  Officer Jonathan W. R. Ginka of Norton Shores Police Department whose End of Watch (EOW) was May 10, 2017 – too close to the 2017 ceremony to get his name added before then. Also added to the wall was Michigan State Police Trooper Timothy J. O’Neill, EOW September 20, 2017.  Trooper O’Neill patrolled the Muskegon Area until he joined the MSP Motorcycle Unit.  He was killed on his motorcycle on September 20, 2017. Many members of the MSP Motorcycle Unit were present on their cycles to pay tribute to Trooper O’Neill.

Fallen area law enforcement officers are:

Martin Salmonson, MDNR, EOW 11/15/1908

Julius A Salmonson, MDNR, EOW 11/15/1908

Josiah C Hazeltine, MC Sheriff Dept, EOW 11/15/1908

Charles D Hammond, MPD, EOW 10/’31/1925

William F Delmar, Roosevelt Park PD, EOW 10/01/1966

Charles B Stark, MSP, EOW 12/31/1971

Johnny O Harris, MHPD, EOW 6/25/1975

Craig A Scott, MSP, EOW 2/9/1982

Marion J Calkins, MC Sheriff, EOW 04/06/1982

Ernest W Heikkila, MC Sheriff Dept, EOW 2/15/1995

Scott A Flahive, Grand Haven Dept Public Safety, EOW 12/13/1994

Jonathan W R Ginka, NSPD, EOW 5/10/2017

Timothy J O’Neill, MSP, EOW 9/20/2017

During the roll call, families of the fallen officers were given flowers to lay before the photos as a member of the applicable department accompanied them and saluted their fallen brother.  This year, the granddaughter of the late Muskegon County Sheriff Marion J. Calkins was present and placed the flowers at the foot of her grandfather’s photo.  She was so happy and proud to take part in the service.

Following the roll call, MSP Trooper Phil Marshall played “Taps.”  Tommy Foster sang a second song titled “Broken Halos,” and several present were brought to tears by the lyrics.  The blessing was given by Muskegon County Sheriff Department Chaplain Danny Peeples who is a member of the Forgotten Man Ministry that works, along with others, with inmates in Muskegon County jail.

FOP President Brian Harris brought Amy Gerard to the podium to thank her for her tireless efforts in making this memorial such a heartfelt event each year. Gerard has been doing this for eleven years.  “Her love and compassion for all who do serve and have served has brought a whole new level of meaning to this memorial service each year,” said Harris.

A special thank you went to Reeths-Puffer Quest Troop No. 741 and Ms. Vallejo for their assistance with programs and directions.

“It is not how these officers died that made them heros... It is how they lived.” —Vivian Eney Cross, Survivor

 

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