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VOL. 126 | NO. 247 | Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Jeremy Park

Honor The Fallen MPD ‘Blue’

By Jeremy Park

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Last week we discussed how building your sphere of influence is intertwined with community engagement. This week let us refocus on our May 16 column (“A Monument to Fallen Officers”) and provide some personal insight into the progression and recent public unveiling of the Memphis Police Department Fallen Officer Memorial.

By the time you read this column, you will have hopefully seen media coverage about the public unveiling and learned more about the storyline and importance. The reality is that while other cities have monuments for their fallen and we have the Memphis Fire Museum for our local firefighter heroes, up until now, Memphis has never had a monument to honor its fallen officers and the families and friends they leave behind.

There are currently 2,400 officers and civilians working with the MPD, which has a rich legacy dating back to 1827. The number of officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty over the last 184 years currently totals 62.

Each of us on the committee feels honored and humbled to even have an opportunity to play a part in this effort. I have many friends who serve our community every day as a part of the MPD “Blue.” I have family, including a younger brother, in the military, who risk their lives to protect the freedoms of our great nation. I know all too well the feeling of worry and helplessness that engulfs your life while a loved one is placed in harm’s way. While my brother was over in Afghanistan, our family prayed all day, every day, and counted down the minutes until his return. So my heart goes out to all of the men and women who sacrifice their lives for our cities and nation. As a father, my heart also goes out to their children.

A retired MPD colonel provided the original vision of this monument, from the centerpiece to the prominent and family-friendly location. The 1/6-size, bronze mock-up of the centerpiece that will be on display at Oak Court Mall is a basic “conceptual” draft designed to help us articulate that vision and the emotional tone with a male and female officer presenting the flag of a fallen to a child. I think it is heartwarming to know that the reason we pushed up the public unveiling is that MPD officers wanted to be able to use part of their holiday bonuses to personally contribute to the effort.

This project is 100 percent privately funded, so we need everyone’s help to bring the MPD Fallen Officer Memorial to fruition. Help us honor those officers who have given their lives to protect our city and recognize the daily efforts of our Memphis Police Department. Learn more about the project and consider contributing to the effort at www.MemphisPoliceFoundation.org.

Jeremy Park, director of communications at Lipscomb Pitts Insurance and director of the Lipscomb Pitts Breakfast Club, can be reached at jeremyp@lpinsurance.com.

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