POINT PLEASANT — At the exact moment slain Deputy Sheriff Darren Goforth was to be laid to rest in Texas, his brothers in Mason County showed their solidarity and respect.
At noon Friday, officers from law enforcement agencies across Mason County gathered on the lawn where the old Point Pleasant High School/Middle School once sat. Officers lined up their cruisers and exactly at noon, turned on their blue and red lights in silence for one minute as requested by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. Though West Virginia and Texas are separated by many miles, law enforcement is united by a brotherhood which felt compelled to salute Goforth, and many others, in a final farewell.
Once the minute of silence ended, names of law enforcement officers from across the country who were killed in August were read, along with their dates of death. Along with Goforth’s name, the following fallen officers were recognized: Deputy Sheriff Delton Daniels, Marlboro County Sheriff’s Office, South Carolina, died Aug. 1. Police Officer Sean Bolton, Memphis, Tenn., died Aug. 1 Police Officer Thomas LaValley, Shreveport, La., died Aug. 5. Detective Brent Hanger, Washington State Patrol, died Aug. 6. First Lt. Arthur Green, III, Michigan DNR, died Aug. 9. Deputy Sheriff Craig Whisenand, Tazwell County Sheriff’s Office, Illinois, died Aug. 11. Deputy Sheriff Carl Howell, Carson City Sheriff’s Office, Nevada, died Aug. 15. Senior Trooper Steven Vincent, Louisiana State Police, died Aug. 24. Sgt. Peggy Vassallo, Bellefontaine PD, Missouri, died Aug. 24. Police Officer Henry Nelson, Sunset PD, Louisiana, died Aug. 26. Trooper James Bava, Missouri State Highway Patrol, died Aug. 28. Trooper Chad Wolf, Michigan State Police, died Aug. 28.
Following the reading of names, Pastor Jonathan Pinson said a closing prayer, recognizing those officers who had lost their lives and praying for the recent “senseless” acts of violence against officers to end. Pinson also prayed for officers who still serve and protect each day, asking those not in uniform to show their support.
Participating in Friday’s show of solidarity were the Mason County Sheriff’s Department, West Virginia State Police, Point Pleasant Police Department, Mason Police Department, Hartford Police Department, Lakin Correctional Center, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and West Virginia State Parks. Also participating and providing support, as well as a ladder truck, was the Point Pleasant Fire Department.
In addition, staff members from various law enforcement agencies, as well as the public, attended the event and supported the officers, recognizing the recent sacrifices made by the fallen.
Reach Beth Sergent at [email protected] or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.