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News | Aug. 11, 2017

Memorial dedication honors first responders at DSCC

By Craig M. Rader DLA Land and Maritime

Officials at Defense Supply Center Columbus unveiled a new memorial that honors federal police, fire and emergency services personnel who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice.

The Aug. 3 memorial dedication took place in a small field nestled between the installation fire and police stations. The memorial consists of two granite pillars, representing the police and fire departments, with plaques on each listing the names of unit personnel who’ve passed away.  

A semicircle ring of metal poles flanks the pillars and displays the service flags of the installation emergency services. A small stone pedestal in front of the monument holds a metal torch for an eternal flame.

Edward Compton, DSCC deputy chief of police, said it’s important for his colleagues to understand how significant their jobs are, even long after their tours of duty have ended.

“We’ll never forget the price they paid and everything else emergency services personnel give to their community,” Compton said. “Their courage, dedication and professionalism will forever be alive in our hearts.”

The granite columns include plaques with names of 12 former police officers and two firefighters. The family members of several of the honorees attended the ceremony.

Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime Commander Navy Rear Adm. Michelle Skubic said the memorial represented a permanent tribute to DSCC’s protectors of the past, present and future.

“This monument honors the legacy of our fire fighters and police officers,” Skubic said. “Their memories shall live on in our hearts and on this permanent memorial as a testament to their professionalism, pride and proficiency.”

DSCC Fire Chief Ronald Born, Police Chief Jeffrey Buck, and Skubic placed wreaths on each pillar and representatives from both the police and fire services read off the names of the heroes inscribed on the memorial.  

Compton said the legacy of the workforce impacts an area much larger than the 540-acre installation on which they serve. With a mutual aid agreement between DSCC fire and emergency services and the nearby city of Whitehall, personnel are often called upon to respond to life and death situations in the local community.

“The police officers and firefighters who’ve gone before us and those who remain here have tirelessly worked, sacrificed, and contributed to the service and protection of citizens locally and throughout the United States,” he said.

The ceremony included the recitation of a Presidential Proclamation first issued by John F. Kennedy in 1963. The proclamation formalized the annual recognition of Peace Officers Memorial Day and Police Week and has expanded over the years to include all fallen heroes, including firefighters and emergency dispatchers. 

The police force at DSCC represents the largest security unit in the Defense Logistics Agency, deploying more than 80 police officers and dispatchers to protect employees, contractors, tenants, family members and guests on the installation. A crew of 26 fire and emergency services personnel work alongside the police and also offer support to the community outside the installation when needed.