Ceremony honors memory of area’s fallen officers
MIDDLETOWN — Ricky Timbrook II never got to meet his father, but Wednesday he placed a small American flag in a wreath to honor his memory during the 11th annual Law Enforcement Memorial Service at the Rappahannock Regional Criminal Justice Academy (RRCJA).
His father, Winchester Police Sgt. Ricky Timbrook, who was killed in the line of duty almost 14 years ago, was remembered at the service along with seven other law enforcement officers who lost their lives.
“It’s wonderful that they continue to do this, and everyone comes to honor his memory,” said Timbrook’s widow and Ricky’s mother, Kelly Timbrook Weart.
Wiping away tears, she said she was fine until she saw her son walk to the wreath.
“It’s like watching his dad walk up there,” she said.
This was the first time that her son had placed the flag by himself.
Timbrook was shot on patrol and died Oct. 30, 1999. He was 32 years old. Less than two months later, his son was born.
Edward Nathaniel Bell was convicted of the crime and executed by the commonwealth in 2009.
Also honored at the ceremony were Frederick County sheriffs James W. Newcome and Luther Pannett; Front Royal Police Department Lt. William Patrick Farrell and Sgt. Dennis M. Smedley; and Virginia State Police troopers H. Lee Henderson, Kevin Carder Manion and Daniel Lee Williams.
Mike Harvey, RRCJA executive director, said it wasn’t how the officers died that made them heroes, but how they lived.
He called the day “appropriately gray” and said they were marking a day of great remembrance and reflection.
“To our family members, we mourn with you and grieve a loss that can never be healed... Thank you for your sacrifice,” Harvey said. “We will continue to have this memorial service year after year so that [the officers’] sacrifice will never be forgotten.”
Strasburg Police Department Chief Tim Sutherly called the fallen officers “God’s angels on earth.”
“Nights, weekends, holidays, you are out there when most are at home with their families,” he told the crowd of law enforcement officers, recruits and loved ones. “No words will ever fill that void, but just know, by the size of the crowd here today, your loved one will never be forgotten.”
Guest speaker John Marshall, former state director of public safety, said the words courage, hero and honor are what comes to mind when thinking of the fallen officers.
“This event, this occasion, is worthy of those words, and those we pay tribute to today are worthy of those words,” he said.
Marshall added it takes a “very special” person to be in law enforcement, knowing their life is on the line daily.
“Those that we honor did not become heroes the day they died, they became heroes the day they raised their right hand and took the oath of office,” Marshall said.
“First, we must never forget them. Second, we must never forget their family, and not just on days like today, but every day.”
Marshall said the greatest tribute law enforcement officers can make to their fallen comrades is to keep doing what they are doing.
“We need each and every one of you out there,” he said.
Clarke County Sheriff Anthony “Tony” Roper said he attends the service every year and that it is a great reminder of the dangers of police work.
“It’s easy to sometimes get caught up in other parts of the job,” Roper said.
Winchester Police Department spokeswoman Lauren Cummings said at the service that the department is thankful the academy continues to honor Timbrook every year.
“At the police department, we think of him often,” she said. “There’s really not a week that goes by that Ricky isn’t me ntioned — he truly had an impact on the community and our department.”
— Contact Melissa Boughton at email@example.com