June 1, 2017 --
Editor’s Note: “In the Line of Duty” is the second in a series highlighting the city’s Law Enforcement Memorial Week activities, which were held to commemorate the ultimate sacrifices of local police officers, who died in the line of duty.
The sounds of bagpipes rang out and echoed throughout L. Orene Hall at Albany State University, recently, as Dan Gillan, retired Marine colonel, marked the opening of the city's annual Law Enforcement Memorial Week Ceremony with musical selections during presentation and posting of the colors.
Eleven fallen officers were honored at the commemoration as local government officials, fellow officers, family members and friends looked on.
Ken Bevel, associate pastor, Sherwood Baptist Church, Albany, Georgia, guest speaker for the memorial, told a story and linked the analogy as a representation of the sacrifices law enforcement officers make to provide safe havens for citizens as well as for generations to come.
“I am delighted and humbled at the same time to be here,” Bevel said. “When we look at the memorial week for our police officers and first responders, I am touched, because I know what it feels like to stand and remember the sacrifices those who have gone before us have made.
“When I look at that, I think about a trip that I made last week to Alaska,” he continued. “There’s one story a friend of my told me, and I thought it would be fitting for this particular event. It was the story of a beaver. When he told me the story I was really captivated by it.
“My friend Kent is a wildlife photographer,” Bevel explained. “He goes out into the wilderness and on this particular trip, he goes to Alaska. He was filming some big game (animals) and in his peripheral, he saw this beaver, who is diligently building a dam. (The beaver) would go off and grab sticks and different things and come back; he’s building and building this dam.
“Over a period of a few weeks, (Kent) came back,” the speaker continued. “The more he came back the bigger this dam became; this beaver was able to build a home. (Kent) came back one day and saw something that appalled him very much. There was just a clump of fur; some blood trails around the particular scene where the dam was, so he made a conclusion of what had happened.
“In the back of his mind, he kept thinking about that day,” Bevel recalled. “He kept thinking about how (the beaver) must have been building a place for his family. One day (much later), he decided to go back to that particular site.
“As he peered over that ridge where the beaver had been building that dam, he could see baby beavers running all over the place,” Bevel added. “More beavers were coming in and stacking stuff on top of that. That beaver had died, paid a sacrifice; that beaver built a place where others could come and reside.
“This is what those who have gone on before us have done,” he pointed out. “They have prepared a place for us to come and live and reside. And, for that I am truly, truly grateful. You see, some people don’t understand the facets of this.
“This man or woman stood in between you and issues or problems of our communities,” Bevel said, while gesturing toward the memorial wreaths, which lined the front of the room. “That person who they were killed by could have been on their way to your house. That person in that car could have been on their way to kill one of your loved ones.
“As divine purpose would have it, that (officer) was standing between you and them,” he said. “For that, I am grateful. So, today, as we stand and remember the sacrifices of the men and women who have gone before us, we not only remember them, but we also remember their families; first responders, our military (who) stand out on the grounds every day making sure that we are stay safe.
“They don’t back down,” Bevel told attendees. “They look for a fight, but they’re particular. They’re making sure that those they love are safe.
“There are two types of people,” the speaker emphasized. “There are those who sit back and talk about it, and there are those who will look at the opposition and they’ll go out and take it on, and there’s something special about that.”
To view more photos from the local event, visit MCLB Albany’s Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/Marine-Corps-Logistics-Base-Albany-512695405469372/.