HONORING THE FALLEN IN TOLEDO

Law enforcement family gathers to keep promise

5/13/2014
BY TAYLOR DUNGJEN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Toledo police chaplain the Rev. Larry Vriezelaar gives the invocation during the annual memorial service for fallen police officers held at the Memorial Garden downtown.
Toledo police chaplain the Rev. Larry Vriezelaar gives the invocation during the annual memorial service for fallen police officers held at the Memorial Garden downtown.

The oldest promise is 134 years old.

It is owed to John Hassett, a Toledo police officer who died March 5, 1880, when a storm toppled a smoke stack at the Buckeye Brewery onto him. He had worked on the job for only two weeks.

PHOTO GALLERY: Toledo Police Dept. fallen officers honored

Another man was killed and a third was injured.

On Monday, 68 officers killed in the line of duty, representing 23 departments, were honored. Their names were read, and a bell tolled once for each of the fallen.

“As you look around today, you will see many different uniforms, law enforcement agencies that are represented, but there is a special sense of unity, a kindred spirit that ties us together,” said Toledo police Chief William Moton. “In the Gospel of John, Jesus tells us that there’s no greater love … than this: That a man lie down his life for his friend.”

Toledo police Chief William Moton, left, and Officer Thomas Killen present the wreath during a ceremony Monday to honor officers killed in the line of duty. The law enforcement family who gathered in Toledo did so to keep a promise they had made to never forget.
Toledo police Chief William Moton, left, and Officer Thomas Killen present the wreath during a ceremony Monday to honor officers killed in the line of duty. The law enforcement family who gathered in Toledo did so to keep a promise they had made to never forget.

Each time an officer dies in the line of duty, the law enforcement family promises to not forget. Every May, officers representing departments from around the region and families of the fallen gather at the downtown Toledo Police Department's Memorial Garden for an hourlong service to remember and to keep the promise.

“Today is a very solemn occasion,” said Mayor D. Michael Collins, who provided the keynote address at the noontime service. “We come together to fulfill a promise. That promise is to our fallen officers that their sacrifice will never be forgotten.”

Mayor Collins, a former Toledo police officer, called officers who serve “domestic warriors” who are tasked with keeping the streets of their communities safe.

He said he wished people would thank police officers for service the same way they thank military personnel.

Every year the sisters of Walter Boyle attend the memorial service.

“To remember,” said Sheila Boyle-Jennewine.

“To never forget,” added Ann Boyle-Taylor.

The two were there with their third sister, Theresa Boyle-Eigensee, who was accompanied by her husband, Bob.

Their brother, Walter, died Dec. 8, 1961, when he was shot and killed by a man he was serving with a warrant.

The memorial service was preceded by the Toledo Police Department’s annual awards ceremony in which dozens of officers and civilians were recognized for doing more than was expected of them.

“There are so many amazing and hardworking people working for the Toledo Police Department,” said Deputy Chief James O'Bryant.

Flags adorn the memorial stones during the memorial ceremony.
Flags adorn the memorial stones during the memorial ceremony.

The hourlong ceremony was hosted in City Council chambers at 9 a.m.

Civilian Employee of the Year was awarded to Linda Leonhard, an administrative assistant in the Domestic Violence Unit. Officer of the Year was awarded to Donald Nachtrab, a 25-year veteran, and Command Officer of the Year was awarded to Sgt. William Wauford, who has spent 30 years on the job and currently works in the Investigative Services Bureau.

Contact Taylor Dungjen at tdungjen@theblade.com, or 419-724-6054, or on Twitter @taylordungjen.