CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — With Memorial Day coming up, the FBI Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division wanted to do something special to remember and honor law enforcement officers and special agents who lost their lives in the line of duty.

Everyone being welcomed. (WBOY Image)

On May 23, the CJIS Division held its annual “Fallen Officer Memorial” at 1 p.m., where families, friends, and FBI staff gathered together for those who have given the ultimate sacrifice.

The ceremony opened up with a welcome from Assistant Director of CJIS, Michael Christman, which led into the Presentation of Colors by the FBI Police Honor Guard. Timothy Cork sang the National Anthem, with FBI Teen Academy Member, Rowen Michaels following with the Pledge of Allegiance. Many others spoke before a special guest speaker shared a few words about a friend he lost last year.

Deputy Sheriff Thomas E. Baker III ended his watch on June 3, 2022, after being fatally shot. Nicholas County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy, John W. Evans Jr., took the podium on Tuesday to honor his friend while sharing memories and how seriously Baker took his work. The Chief Deputy even mentioned that Thomas Baker was a “sheep dog” by saying, “sheep dogs are usually larger dogs who, at most times, are going to be gentle with their flock. The sheep dog also has the responsibility of protecting the flock. The flock may need protecting from other evil in the world, or sometimes just protection from getting themselves in situations that can cause them harm. Tom Baker was this person.”

Morgan Sprouse singing. (WBOY Image)

Morgan Sprouse then stepped up to the podium to sing “Go Light Your World.” Shortly after, the deputy sheriff’s family was presented with a flag before the wreath-laying ceremony began.

Last year alone, 61 officers lost their lives in the line of duty, which is the third-highest amount in the last ten years. 2021 was the highest in the past 20 years with 73 officers whose lives were lost.

Scott Schubert, CJIS Division Section Chief told 12 News, “Officers go out every day, they don’t think about that. All they think about is helping others but they’re willing to put themselves in the line of danger for complete strangers and there’s nothing more powerful than that. You know, thinking about the family, their friends, their colleagues, what they’re experiencing losing a partner, a husband, a father, a friend. Is difficult for them, and it’s something that’s going to be with them their whole life, so we gotta [got to] make sure as law enforcement, we’re there for them as well.”

Once the Wreath Laying Ceremony commenced, a 21-Gun Salute was performed, and Brayden Thomas played “Taps” on the trumpet. Local Law Enforcement Officers and FBI Special Agents then took turns reading off over 300 names to remember and honor on that beautiful Tuesday afternoon. Matt Fair then played “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes.

The Ceremony ended with remarks, a Benediction by Pastor Shane Boggs, who was a friend of Deputy Sheriff Baker, and the Retirement of Colors.

Fallen officers who gave the ultimate sacrifice. (WBOY Image)

Memorial Day is May 29, so don’t forget to remember and honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice.