Prayer Vigil Held For Local Officers
PADEN CITY – A prayer vigil was held Friday evening at the city park to give thanks and honor area law enforcement officers. More than a hundred people gathered as many speakers – including pastors, mayors, and prosecuting attorneys – took the stage to humbly recognize those who lay their lives down for us on a daily basis.
Mayor Joel Davis addressed the crowd with a warm welcoming, reminding the audience the reason for the vigil.
“We need to remember and pray for the families and friends of the officers we’ve lost,” he said. “These brave public servants died serving their communities. We must honor their memories, and we must do everything we can in our community to show respect to our fallen.”
Davis ended his introduction with a Bible verse, Joshua 1:9 , “Be strong and courageous for the Lord thy God is with you wherever you go.”
The large gathering of supporters then lit the candles. Tyler County Prosecuting Attorney Luke Furbee offered a few words of dedication to the officers.
“They do a job on your behalf to keep chaos from your door, and it’s a thankless job,” he said. “Many, if not most, of their good deeds go entirely unnoticed and are entirely out of the public view.”
Furbee offered his thanks to law officers for a job well done.
“I think I know them well enough to know that all they really want is for every once in a while for someone to say ‘thank you,’ so tonight I say thank you to you,” he said.
Pastor Bobby Thomas of Indian Creek Southern Baptist Church added, “Tonight is about prayer for those who give themselves to protect the lives of the people in our counties, in our state and in our nation.”
He went on, “We want you to know that we appreciate what you do for our community… We are gathered tonight to tell you that we stand with you in our communities.”
Pastor Mike Shank of Lighthouse Community Church began his dedication by announcing his family and expressing his love towards them. He said that no matter how much he loves them, he can’t be there to protect them at all times. However the police officers, “travel our highways, go to our schools, frequent our shopping centers and stores.”
“I entrust my family to the amazing men and women who have dedicated their lives to serving and protecting my family and yours. They too have husbands and wives that they love, children that they love just as much a I love my mine and you love yours, and their families depend on them.”
He went on, “By calling and by choice these amazing men and women sacrifice it all… whenever duty calls, they risk their families and their lives for us.”
David Kelly, former police officer and current pastor of Faith Fellowship in Reader, gave testimony of the life of an officer. He described that many of these officers are youthful individuals who are risking everything at such a young age.
“There aren’t enough words in our vocabulary to say ‘thank you’ to our men and women in uniform. Police officers aren’t like the rest of us; they aren’t trained to be. They are trained to think differently than anyone else in society,” he said.
He continued, “They must make split-second decisions that will follow them for the rest of their lives. Their actions will be judged by the court system, reported by the press, and sadly scrutinized and ridiculed by many of their neighbors, but tomorrow they will drag themselves out of bed, kiss their spouses, and do it all over again because it’s a calling not a career.”
Kelly went on, “They run to the call for help. While others are running for safety, these men and women will willingly place themselves in harm way, because that’s what they do.”
Mayor Bill Rice addressed the supporters and recognized Officer Rob Haught and the loss of his police dog, Mauser. Mauser had passed away just recently and had served with Officer Haught for many years.
“A hero is an ordinary person facing extraordinary circumstances and acting with courage, honor, and self-sacrifice,” Rice said.
He added, “When I hear the word hero, I think of a police officer. Someone that boys and girls want to grow up to be, and someone we all reach to when we need help.”
The final speaker of the night was Wetzel County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Haught, who encouraged the community, “to show our appreciation and to help our law enforcement officers by showing them the respect that they deserve.”
He continued, “the second thing we can do is be decent and respectful citizens. It would be great if our law enforcement officers never had to arrest anyone, but I know that they will have to, and they will continue to do their job with honor.”
Haught then asked all attending officers to join up front to be recognized with a standing ovation. He ended with the verse, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.”