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BOWLING GREEN It s been 39 years since Rossford Police Officer Clifton Miller died in a car chase, but his family hasn t forgotten the sacrifice he made.
Four generations of Officer Miller s family turned out yesterday for the annual Wood County Police Memorial service outside the county courthouse.
As a bagpiper played Amazing Grace, Mr. Miller s widow, Emily Enderbury, placed a wreath in front of a new marble monument dedicated to her husband and nine other Wood County law enforcement officers who were killed in the line of duty between 1896 and 1984.
To honor them is why I come for Cliff, she said after the outdoor ceremony. As long as they put this on, we ll still come.
For her son, Richard Miller, who never met his father he was born after Officer Miller was killed the annual ritual is part of a healing process.
I guess you could say I built a wall around myself concerning my dad, and every single year another brick is taken out, he said.
Juvenile and Probate Court Judge David Woessner told the crowd the service was a tribute to those who died and a gesture of gratitude to their families.
We will hear their names called out, unveil a new monument, see black cloth placed over badges, hear Taps, and listen to the sound of bagpipes, he said. All of these actions are highly symbolic and from the heart, yet they pale to the actions of those we honor today.
Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn asked those in attendance to pray not only for the 10 killed in the line of duty but for all active police officers.
May God bless us by never having to add another name to our roll, he said.
In presenting the new police memorial on the west side of the courthouse grounds, Dan Van Vorhis, president of the Wood County Fraternal Order of Police, said he hoped families of the fallen officers would find the new monument acceptable and something they can be proud of.
The black marble stone is engraved with a waving U.S. flag and the F.O.P. seal. It reads In honor of all who have served and lists the 10 deceased officers.
Mr. Van Vorhis said the old police monument had to be moved while construction was going on at the courthouse, and it was damaged in the process. County commissioners agreed to help the F.O.P. pay for a new one.
After yesterday s service, the brass plaque from the old monument was ceremoniously driven to the Wood County Historical Center by a police motorcade.
Contact Jennifer Feehan at:firstname.lastname@example.org 419-353-5972.