The vision of two Eagle Scout candidates, a memorial to first responders was dedicated last Wednesday at the park between East Main Street and East Young Street in Elma.
“This memorial was an Eagle Scout project of two scouts from Troop 14 of Elma: Evan Werner and Matt Kimbrel,” said Hoquiam Police Chief Jeff Myers, one of many local law enforcement officers who attended the afternoon ceremony. “As a fellow Eagle Scout, I am very proud of my nephew Matt and all the dedicated work on this memorial.”
As with all Eagle Scout projects, the Elma memorial came to be not only by the efforts of the two Eagle Scout candidates, but also other scouts from the troop, Scout leaders, parents, volunteers and businesses who donated time and materials.
Elma Police Chief Sue Shultz and Sheriff Rick Scott spoke at the dedication to thank the community for their support and talk about the sacrifices made every day by first-responders serving their communities.
“I was asked to speak on behalf of former Hoquiam Police officer Daniel McCartney, who was killed in the line of duty as a Pierce County Sheriff’s Deputy Jan. 8, 2018,” said Myers. “Daniel’s mother-in-law attended on behalf of Daniel’s family.” McCartney’s sons were also scheduled to attend but were unable to do so.
The memorial is dedicated to all first-responders in Grays Harbor County; the names of all the law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty from the county were read by Elma Police Sgt. Ryan Cristelli with a ceremonial ringing of a memorial bell.
“The ‘thin-blue-line’ are the men and women of law enforcement who place themselves between good and evil,” said Myers. “As in the case of Daniel’s family, it also means the officer, firefighter and other first-responder’s family also must pay a price for standing this line.”
Myers said the job of a first responder comes at the price of shift-work, missed family dinners, late nights, early mornings, 24-hour shifts away from home, overtime, stress and helping people at their worst; for some families, such as McCartney, it means losing their loved one in the service of the community.
“It is a high price to pay. It is a price all first-responders accept every day they put on the badge and go to work. But as we remember the dedication of our first-responders, it is also important to remember the sacrifice of their families,” said Myers. “As Sheriff Scott mentioned at the memorial, pray the list of the fallen in service of our community gets no longer.”