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Police Week Memorial Ceremony held in Youngstown

May 24, 2008
By JOE GORMAN Tribune Chronicle
YOUNGSTOWN — Miriam Fife used the pain of the brutal death of her son to fight for victims’ rights. She urged those attending the Police Week Memorial Ceremony at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church Friday to do something for someone they lost as well.

Fife, a victims’ advocate for the Trumbull County Prosecutor’s Office whose 12-year-old son Raymond was murdered in September 1985, told the family and friends of officers who died in the line of duty that she thanks God she has the strength to continue fighting for victims of crime.

‘‘Every one of you out there who are survivors can do something in the name of your loved one,’’ Fife said. ‘‘We all can do that.’’

The ceremony was attended by most departments in Mahoning County and was sponsored by the Fraternal Order of Police lodges for Youngstown State University, the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office and the Youngstown Police Departments.

Trumbull County police departments sending representatives included Girard, Liberty, McDonald and Warren. The Cleveland Police Department Pipe and Drum Corps also took part.

The names of all 24 officers who have died in the line of duty in Mahoning County were read and a flower was placed on a wreath in their memory.

Some of the families of those who died, such as the family of Mahoning County Deputy John ‘‘Sonny’’ Litch and Youngstown Patrolman Michael Hartzell, placed the flowers themselves. Hartzell was the last Mahoning Valley police officer killed on duty. He was shot to death April 29, 2003.

The Rev. Timothy O’Neil, pastor of St. Patrick’s Church in Hubbard, told the crowd police officers totally devote themselves to their job and live up to the ideal the apostle John wrote in the Gospel about Jesus: ‘‘The greatest love a person can have for his friends is to lay down his life for them.’’

‘‘That’s what it’s all about,’’ O’Neil said. ‘‘They put their whole selves in, body and soul. That’s what said John said two thousand years ago. That’s what Michael (Hartzell) said five years ago.

‘‘Bless all of those who put their whole selves in.’’

Mahoning County Court Judge Diane Vettori, the wife of a police officer, said, ‘‘For them, law enforcement is not just a job, it’s not just a career, it’s not just a pay check. It’s a lifestyle.’’

Youngstown Police Detective Sgt. Carl Davis, who sang the song ‘‘Center Of My Joy,’’ told the crowd that while it is OK to be sad, ‘‘Joy comes in the morning.’’

‘‘One day, we will see our loved ones again,’’ Davis said.

Fact Box

Officers killed in line of duty
? Mahoning County police officers killed in the line of duty:
William Freed, Youngstown Police Department, May 17, 1891
Alfred Evans, Youngstown Police Department, Nov. 5, 1911
Samuel Banks, Youngstown Police Department, Oct. 4, 1919
John Costantino, Campbell Police Department, May 11, 1920
Walter Flickinger, Lowellville Police Department, June 7, 1923
Joe Ruby, Campbell Police Department, Nov. 11, 1923
George Leonard, Youngstown Police Department, March 29, 1924
Ben Yeaden, Youngstown Police Department, Feb. 27, 1925
Henry Clemens, Youngstown Police Department, Dec. 4, 1927
John Harkins, Struthers Police Department, Jan. 1, 1952
Raymond Darwich, Struthers Police Department, Jan. 16, 1952
Frank Cichon, Youngstown Police Department, Dec. 21, 1963
Albert Masi, Campbell Police Department, Feb. 12, 1973
William ‘‘Bud’’ Comm, Youngstown State University Police Department, Aug. 12,

John ‘‘Sonny’’ Litch, Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office, Oct. 22, 1981
Richard Becker, Poland Township Police Department, Nov. 6, 1983
Ralph DeSalle, Youngstown Police Department, June 13, 1984
Paul Durkin, Youngstown Police Department, Sept. 21, 1987
Millard Williams, Youngstown Police Department, April 14, 1992
Steve Malkovits, Youngstown Police Department, May 21, 1993
Carmen ‘‘Skip’’ Renda, Youngstown and YSU Police Departments, March 16, 1996
William Rickets, New Middletown Police Department, April 2, 1997
Michael T. Hartzell, Youngstown Police Department, April 29, 2003
? Trumbull County police officers killed in the line of duty
Frank F. Flowers, Warren Police Department, April 3, 1919
Irving L. Baker, Warren Police Department, Jan. 6, 1933
John Utlak, Niles Police Department, Dec. 8, 1982
Richard ‘‘Ricky’’ Martin, Howland Police Department, Dec. 14, 2002

Sources: Mahoning County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge and Tribune Chronicle files



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