FERRIS — It was a melancholy atmosphere in Ferris on Friday evening, as residents and police officers stopped to remember the sacrifices of two of their own. Patrolman Harry Steinfeldt and Constable James Wicker were both killed in the line of duty, giving the ultimate sacrifice to protect their city and its people.
Both officers were remembered at the Fallen Officer Memorial, which is dedicated to their memory. This was the sixth annual memorial in honor of the two officers. A ceremony is held each year as part of National Police Memorial Week, when cities and counties around the country stop to remember officers who have died in service to their communities.
Memorial week holds a special meaning to the people of Ferris, having lost two of their own officers.
“When Steinfeldt died it was a sad day for Ferris, but the community came together and rallied around each other like it always does,” council member Carol J. Wright said.
A sense of community was evident during the ceremony, as people didn’t allow the rain that came in during the middle of the playing of “Taps” to ruin the event, even as it was moved into the cramped confines of City Hall.
Those gathered all had kind words to say about the fallen officers, especially when speaking of the 28-year-old Steinfeldt, who was killed by a gunman in 2002 after responding to a call at a local gas station.
Inside City Hall, people reminisced while sharing stories about him. Those who grew up with him recalled funny anecdotes while speaking of his kindness and strength of character.
“He was a fine gentleman. He lived just outside of town and loved children, was really kind to everyone, especially the elderly,” 90-year-old longtime Ferris resident Virginia Dove said.
Memorial week also serves to recognize the sacrifices police officers make on a daily basis.
“It brings a sense of compassion and gratitude back into the community and allows people to see officers in a different light than they would on the road in everyday situations,” Pastor Karl Johnson of Bristol Baptist Church said.
“Our community is mindful of the effort of our officers and our officers in Ferris are very dedicated. They look after everyone and we are just fortunate,” Wright said.