Law enforcement officers across the country came together to pay tribute to officers killed in the line of duty last year by running in the seventh annual Fallen Heroes Honor Run on March 10.
According to the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), which organized the nationwide event, members of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, along with USMS staff from all 94 federal judicial districts nationwide, participated in the two-three mile run to honor the 244 officers who died in the line of duty last year.
During the run, most officers chose to wear their uniforms and bulletproof vests, which has become a tradition.
The inaugural event took place in 2017 to commemorate fallen Deputy U.S. Marshal Josie Wells who was killed in Baton Rouge in 2015.
“The run honors the memory of all members of the U.S. Marshals Service and all law enforcement who have lost their lives in the line of duty,” a USMS press release stated.
The press release added that since the creation of the U.S. Marshals Service in 1789, at least 280 USMS employees have been killed on the job.
In West Virginia, more than 100 officers turned out for this year’s event at two separate locations – in Charleston at the Robert C. Byrd Federal Courthouse and State Capitol and at the Clarksburg FBI Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) campus.
“Both U.S. Marshal districts in West Virginia completed the Fallen Heroes Honor Run with great participation from our federal, state and local partners,” acting Northern District U.S. Marshal Terry Moore said. “The run is a true testament of respect to those officers who paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving as a law enforcement officer. We hope that by continuing to honor these officers, that they will never be forgotten.”
Deputy Thomas Baker of the Nicholas County Sheriff’s Department was the lone casualty in the state last year. He was fatally shot while responding to a domestic disturbance on June 3.
Officers who saw their end of watch in 2022 or the beginning of 2023 were also recognized during the Honor Run.
Nicholas County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Travis Lawson, Greenbriar County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Charles Smith, Sergeant Nathan Samples from the West Virginia State Police, as well as K-9s Axel, Nero, Waeylin, Kayla and Ekko were honored at this year’s event for making the ultimate sacrifice.
Deputy U.S. Marshal Mark Waggamon also participated in the event.
“The two-to-three-mile run is in honor of those in law enforcement who have given their lives in the name of justice and defense of law and order. Officers completed the run wearing a plate carrier vest,” Waggamon said.
Southern District of West Virginia U.S. Marshal Michael Baylous commented on the importance of the fallen officers’ sacrifice.
“It is important for us to remember and honor our fallen officers who were dedicated to preserving the rule of law in our country because without the rule of law, our society would descend into chaos and anarchy. Our thoughts and prayers remain with their family members that continue to grieve, regardless of how much time has passed,” Baylous said.
According to a USMS press release, officers from multiple agencies in Alabama met at the Federal Courthouse in downtown Mobile to run in honor of the fallen.
“It is a great honor to be here among such brave men and women,” Mark F. Sloke, U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of Alabama said. “Today we run not only to remember Deputy Wells, but all those who made the ultimate sacrifice to keep the citizens of our great nation safe.”