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Officers celebrate Police Memorial Day

Pike County’s police officers gathered at the Troy Police Department Wednesday to remember.

They remembered those who, much like themselves, dressed for work day in and day out and risked their lives. They remembered those officers who performed the duties they do daily, but haven’t been so lucky.

They gathered, whether those at the Pike County Sheriff’s Department, Troy Police Department or Troy University Police Department with a common understanding — it could have been any one of them.

And while falling in the line of duty hasn’t been the sacrifice any of those officers made, there are those who can remember some of their faces well.

Troy Police Officer Jason Youngblood, grandson of TPD’s fallen Hayden Youngblood, is one of them.

“I did not know my (grandfather). He died when my father was 11,” he said.

“I see him everyday. His picture is hanging in the foyer of the police department, and I think about him everyday.”

During the presentation, Youngblood placed a wreath over the memorial monument that serves a standing reminder to the public.

“As beautiful as this monument is, it pales in comparison to the living reminder each of you are to us everyday,” said Troy City Councilman Jason Reeves. “When we decided to move the memorial here, it was not only for the memory of the fallen officers but for you to see it everyday.”

Reeves, son of former Police Chief Grady Reeves, said the death of officer Steve Watkins is something he remembers clearly.

“I was nine years old, and I’ll never forget it. It’s one of those moments everyone remembers what they were doing when the Troy Police Officer died,” he said. “Government is about protecting the innocent from violence, and you’re on the front line doing that every day.”

Troy Police Chief Anthony Everage read the “Roll Call of Honor,” remembering Troy Police officers who have died in the line of duty: Officer Will G. Jackson – June 1905; Officer Hayden Youngblood – May 1962; Officer Cecil Sullivan – November 1967; Officer Billy Dease – January 1968 and Officer Steve Watkins – November 1981.

Everage said the Police Memorial Day celebration is a key reminder for his department.

“This is our opportunity to express our appreciation to the officers that made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty, not only these men but also their families,” he said.