A day of remembrance, celebration for the ‘quiet heroes’
Speaking from the steps of the Government Center in downtown Concord, Sen. Thom Tillis urged the crowd to show appreciation for law enforcement every chance they get.
“We owe it to every single one of them to go up and thank them,” he told the more 200 people gathered on May 7. “Make sure you do what you can to lift them up, because they lift up our communities.”
Showing appreciation for sacrifice is what Law Day is all about.
The yearly event gathers local law enforcement, the families of fallen officers and members of the community to honor the sacrifices and present the Robert J. Eury Award to a veteran law enforcement officer ”who demonstrates true commitment to law enforcement and service to the community.”
Eury, a Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Deputy, was killed in the line of duty on May 5, 1972.
This year’s event had an even more somber tone, as Concord Police Officer Jason Shuping was one of the seven fallen local officers honored. Shuping was killed in the line of duty on December 16, 2020.
“(Jason) was a young man with a bright future,” Tillis told the crowd during his keynote speech. “He was an outstanding police officer who courageously ran to danger to protect our community.”
The event began with a special recognition of 2020’s Eury Award honoree, Concord Police Deputy Chief Jimmy Hughes. Hughes received the award last year in a private ceremony due to COVID-19.
After running off a long list of Hughes’ professional accomplishments, Concord Police Chief Gary Gacek said “Jimmy’s a creative and progressive law enforcement leader. He’s also generous with his time and is always willing to help those in need, whether it’s in a personal or professional capacity.”
“This award has a special meaning to me, especially this year, given everything that we as a department, as a family and as a community have been through,” Hughes said. “It’s so very important that we always remember the sacrifice of the officers that we are here to honor today.”
The 2021 Eury Award was presented to Kannapolis Police Lt. Allen H. Tomlin.
Tomlin's career began in 1997 with the Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office. He joined Kannapolis Police in 1998 and has made his way through the ranks since then, according to Kannapolis Police Chief Terry Spry.
“Officers like (Tomlin) are America’s quiet heroes, who often go unnoticed and unappreciated until those critical moments when we all need them,” Spry said. “He truly embraces a servant-leadership philosophy. He never asks someone to do a task he would not do himself and is always willing to help others. He has a sense of humbleness and is gracious with his time and money with no expectation of recognition."
Following the presentations, attendees made their way to the Cabarrus County Fallen Law Enforcement Officer Memorial, where families paid tribute to those listed on the memorial.
The ceremony ended with a 21-gun salute by the Kannapolis Police Rifle Team and “Taps” performed by Cory Kluttz of Kannapolis Police. Dallas Hurley of the Concord Police Department then played a bagpipe recessional of “Amazing Grace.”
If you missed the Facebook livestream, the full event will air on CabCoTV every day of May at 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., beginning Saturday, May 8. The public can also watch on demand at youtube.com/cabarruscounty.
Since 1899, seven law enforcement officers lost their lives in the line of duty while serving Cabarrus residents. They include:
William J Kearns: Concord Police Department, September 2, 1899
William F Propst: Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office, November 17, 1922
Martin Reuben Kiser: Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office, March 3, 1931
Robert J Eury: Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office, May 5, 1972
Roger Dale Carter: Kannapolis Police Department, December 31, 1993
Jackie L Daniel: NC DMV, July 28, 1994
Jason N. Shuping: Concord, Police Department, December 16, 2020
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