WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - An emotional tribute to fallen Fairbanks Police Sergeant Allen Brandt was held Monday at the National Peace Officers Memorial Service in our nation's capital.
It was the culmination of National Police Week, and one of the most sobering moments was the names of each law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty last year being read out loud in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol.
Allen Brandt's family honored the fallen Fairbanks police sergeant with a red flower.
Brandt died from eye surgery complications last October after he was shot responding to a call.
"We hoped to not have something so close to home that would bring us back here," said Fairbanks Police Chief Eric Jewkes. Jewkes and Sgt. Kurt Lockwood rode their bikes from New Jersey to Washington in the Police Unity Tour to pay respects to their brother.
"Keeping in sport with good Alaska ingenuity and getting out there and getting the job done, the least we could do was a little physical effort to bring our brother and put his name on the wall with everyone else," said Lockwood.
That wall is the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. Brandt's name is now permanently etched in stone so that visitors will forever know of his sacrifice.
"To see another friend put on this wall - it never gets easy," said Jewkes. "Our singular event had a ripple effect throughout the State of Alaska, throughout the Fairbanks community. And to just imagine the ripple effect of 164 officers, who were killed last year, who will be put on this wall, is just unfathomable."
Having all this support around them helps numb the pain.
"Remember there are still officers out there doing the same thing - that are risking everything they have," said Jewkes. "Just take a minute; if there's a reason to thank them, thank them."