By Wayne Gates –
About 150 people turned out on July 30 to honor local law enforcement officers with a candlelight vigil in Mt. Orab park.
A number of people addressed the crowd, including family members of police officers.
Brown County Sheriff-Elect Gordon Ellis was one of those who spoke.
He told the crowd that, “It’s really easy to criticize what police officers do. But at 2:30 in the morning, when you see a young deputy and police officer to go a call and handle it so well, there is no one there to pat them on the back and tell them what a good job they’ve done. But I’ve seen it. I’ve seen them display the absolute best that we can be as human beings.”
Ellis asked those in attendance to take note of the police officers they see in public.
“When you see them, always remember that they are there so you can be safe today. And for that, they deserve our respect, they deserve our thanks and you never have to worry about waking up and having a day where they are not there to protect you.”
Kelsey Amole, the wife of Ripley Police Officer John Amole, also spoke.
Her husband was attacked in January and put into the hospital by a suspect.
“I’ll never forget how many times I was told how lucky I was that my husband wasn’t shot that night. Like I wasn’t aware of the fact that every day, I send him to work knowing the chance of him not returning and receiving a folded flag in his place,” Amole told the crowd.
“We have to stand together and make a difference. We have to be the voice for officers that no longer have one…never stop holding that thin blue line.”
Winchester Police Chief David Benjamin also spoke to the crowd about working as a law enforcement officer.
“The things that stand out more in my career to be are the folks that I was able to help. The kids I was able to take out of abusive homes or the times that we were able to talk someone out of suicide. Those times stand out because that’s when we are able to help people,” Benjamin said.
Following the vigil, Benjamin spoke about the large number of people that turned out for the event.
“The amount of respect that we are feeling tonight really energizes us to be able to go out and do more for the community. So many times we don’t see the support, but we see it tonight and it’s very humbling.”
State Representative Doug Green sang at the event, asking all law enforcement officers to come to the stage while he performed.
Following the event, Green said, “It’s really encouraging to see this level of support from the community…We just need to continue to stand firm and pray for those who are protecting our safety.”