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Published: Wednesday, 5/18/2011 - Updated: 3 years ago

Fallen officers remembered at annual rite

Respects paid at toledo police memorial garden

BY TAYLOR DUNGJEN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Toledo Police Officer Burna Guy, left, Chief Mike Navarre, and Lt. Sean Jones salute after placing a wreath in the Toledo Police Memorial Garden during the annual Toledo-Area Police Memorial Service. Toledo Police Officer Burna Guy, left, Chief Mike Navarre, and Lt. Sean Jones salute after placing a wreath in the Toledo Police Memorial Garden during the annual Toledo-Area Police Memorial Service.
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EDITOR'S NOTE: This version corrects the name of Officer Robert Adams, pictured ringing the bell during the memorial service.

In 1948, Phyllis Fadell was pregnant with a third child, a boy. She and her husband, Toledo police Officer Albert Fadell, were already parents to two daughters.

When Officer Fadell, 29, left for work on Nov. 16, 1948, he had no idea he would miss the birth of his son and seeing his children grow up.

Wednesday, Phyllis -- now Mrs. Lacure -- and her two daughters, Judith Croker and Karen Welter, were at the Toledo-Area Police Memorial Service at the Toledo Police Memorial Garden downtown behind the Municipal Court Building.

There, Officer Fadell and others from 21 departments who were killed in the line of duty were remembered and honored.

The memorial service fell in the middle of National Police Appreciation week. May 15 was National Peace Officers Memorial Day.

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About 7:30 p.m. Nov. 16, 1948, Officer Fadell, a member of the motorcycle patrol, was leaving the Safety Building to start his shift and drove onto Canton Street. At Canton and Beacon streets, he was struck by a car driven by James Bilbrey, 24, a former Mud Hens pitcher. The officer suffered a fractured skull, thigh, and shoulder and internal injuries. He died in Mercy Hospital three days later, never waking from his coma.

"I remember when I thought it was horrible and the end of the world," Mrs. Lacure said. "Now we have good memories."

Toledo police Officer Robert Adams rings a bell as the names of area officers killed in the line of duty are read. Of the 65 honored, 30 were Toledo officers. Names dated back as far as March 5, 1880, and were as recent as March 19, 2011. Toledo police Officer Robert Adams rings a bell as the names of area officers killed in the line of duty are read. Of the 65 honored, 30 were Toledo officers. Names dated back as far as March 5, 1880, and were as recent as March 19, 2011.
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Mrs. Lacure and her family attend the memorial annually, even though her late husband has been gone for 62 years. Her children have brought their children and, perhaps, someday they will bring their children.

"The most important thing is to never forget," said Mrs. Croker of Cleveland. She was 1 when her father was killed; Mrs. Welter, who lives in Monclova Township, was 2.

Of the 65 officers honored, 30 were on the Toledo force. The memorials Wednesday for area officers dated back as far as March 5, 1880 -- Officer John Hassett of Toledo -- and were as recent as March 19, 2011 -- Officer Andrew Dunn of Sandusky.

As each name was read, a single ping of a bell sounded, and the red and blue lights on police cruisers and motorcycles flashed.

"It is so easy to take the work of our safety forces for granted," said Ohio Supreme Court Justice Judith Lanzinger. "Nationally, 850,000 men and women guard us at great risk. Do you know that every other day, one in 15 officers is assaulted, one in 46 officers is injured. ... Aren't these chilling statistics?"

As of Wednesday, 70 officers have died in the line of duty across the country since the beginning of the year, up 11 percent from this time last year, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

As Taps was played by a lone bugle, Riley Raburn, 13, used the sleeve of her blue hooded sweatshirt to wipe a tear from the corner of her eye. On the front of the sweatshirt is Toledo police Detective Keith Dressel's badge.

"I like to … show how much I love him," said the girl, Detective Dressel's niece, who was at the memorial with her mother, Jennifer Raburn, and brother, Canyon Raburn, 15, all from Horton, Mich.

Detective Dressel was shot and killed on Feb. 21, 2007.

People walking through the civic mall during the noon memorial Wednesday stopped to watch and listen; onlookers stood in the doorways and behind windows of the buildings that surround the memorial garden to observe.

A man watching from a window of the Federal Courthouse saluted during the three-round volley fired by the Toledo police directed patrol section.

Earlier Wednesday, dozens of Toledo police department employees -- officers, command officers, and civilians -- were honored during an annual awards ceremony.

The civilian employee of the year award was given to Tori Baertschi, the officer of the year was Detective Black Watkiss, and the command officer of the year was Sgt. Daniel Raab.

Contact Taylor Dungjen at: tdungjen@theblade.com or 419-724-6054.



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