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Ceremony honors fallen officers
BEAUMONT- by Haley Bull
While law enforcement officers in Southeast Texas return home to their families, there are more than a dozen who will not. Colleagues and families of the 17 officers killed in the line of duty honored them Wednesday at a memorial for fallen officers at the Beaumont Police Department.
Each rose on the wreath marked a life lost.
"You want to acknowledge that they've been a part of your life," Stephanie Pauling, a widow of game warden Mike Pauling, said.
"It seems like it just happened yesterday, you know, that you get that call or that knock on the door that it just happened," Elena Whestaff-Kelley, a widow of a fallen officer, said.
Families gathered in front of the police station's memorial to honor them.
"My father was a Beaumont Police officer killed in the line of duty in 1944," Fran McManus said.
Her father, Gorden Warrick, was killed when a suspect hit his motorcycle.
"I remember vaguely sitting on the back of his motorcycle when I was about three and a half years old before he was killed,"McManus said.
Wednesday, she joined the families of other officers killed in the line of duty since 1881.
"It just brings it all back as if it just happened," Barbara Gallier said.
March 22, 1988, Michael Lee Lockhart shot and killed Gallier's husband, Paul Hulsey Jr., in a Beaumont motel room.
"It was a whirlwind of a day, something that I never, ever expected to happen. My girls were little," Gallier said.
Her oldest daughter, Ashley Behn, was only six-years old when she lost her father.
"Sometimes when I reflect now," Behn said, "I don't dwell on things so much as what it was like for me as a child but what it must have been like for them as parents."
Behn is about to become a mom again. She's a parent to five children, including 9-year old Treson.
"Today's a little different, because I brought a kid with me and it's the first time that I've been able to involve my own personal family in the memorial service, so it's, it's special to be able to share with them the legacy that my dad left behind," she said.
It's a legacy relatives of fallen officers shared in front of their law enforcement family.
"The title police officer, he gave it a good name," Behn said.
That good name is now etched into a star alongside 16 others killed protecting their community.
The ceremony was one of thousands held across the country as part of National Police Week.