Prayer Vigil To Honor Police
PADEN CITY – A prayer vigil will be held for Tyler and Wetzel counties law enforcement officers on Friday at the city park.
The vigil starts at 8 p.m. with remarks by Mayor Joel Davis followed by a prayer by the Reverend Rocky Wills. The guest speakers will be pastors Bobby Thomas of Indian Creek Southern Baptist Church, Mike Shank of Lighthouse Community Church in New Martinsville, and David Kelly of Faith Fellowship in Reader. A closing prayer will be offered by Wetzel County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Haught.
Candles will be lit honoring those officers who have fallen in the line of duty. Though there will be candles provided at the service, those attending should consider bringing candles too.
“I wanted to come up with a way to create a positive and uplifting experience for our local officers,” said Jessica Owens, who organized the vigil. “Regardless of what is going on and being said in the national media, they continue to get up and protect us each and every day. When their brothers and sisters are being shot and killed for no other reason but because they are wearing a badge, our law enforcement family needs help and support. And I can’t think of a better way to help than to pray.”
Five police officers were gunned down July 7 in Dallas at the end of a peaceful Black Lives Matter-organized protest against the police killings of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castille in Minnesota, which had occurred in the previous days.
Two Baton Rouge Police officers and one East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office deputy are dead following a shooting Sunday morning, according to media reports. Another officer was critically injured. EBRSO confirmed multiple officers from both BRPD and EBRSO sustained injuries in the shooting and were taken to area hospitals. There is no word yet on the extent of all of the injuries.
Owens’ husband, Michael, is a patrolman and lead drug investigator for the New Martinsville Police Department. She said current events “absolutely” helped to inspire the vigil that police wives will be hosting.
“We have always made it a habit to pray before my husband goes out on shift – for his safety as well as his fellow officers,” she said. “As the wife of a law enforcement officer, you just kind of hold your breath each shift hoping he walks back in the door and you hear the Velcro of his Kevlar vest. That truly is the most welcomed sound in a police officers home.”
“Prayers for our officers are much needed,” New Martinsville Police Department Chief Tim Cecil said.
“We don’t go out looking for trouble. It usually finds us.”
The recent shootings of officers have affected Cecil. He noted that he is being more alert to his surroundings now. He also said he is trying to make sure there are two officers on each traffic stop.
A longtime lawman, Kelly served two terms as Pleasants County sheriff between 1988-96. He currently works as the investigator for the Wetzel County Prosecutor’s office.
“I think we are at at point where we must let law enforcement know we are behind them; that we support them; and we pray for them,” he said. “It’s also a time when we remember those officers who have lost their lives in this country.”
Haught is a veteran prosecutor who works closely with the law enforcement community.
“Law enforcement is not the problem in America,” he said. “Lawless people are the problem. As a nation we need to unite in support of our law enforcement officers and their families from the vicious attacks of people who have no respect for authority or the rule of law. Those resorting to violence against the police have disgraced the Civil Rights Movement in America. Dr. King would would be very disappointed in them.”
Mayor Davis said such vigils are needed nationwide.
“I think these are the type of events we need to have across the nation,” he said. “We need to come together as communities to begin the healing process and show our officers that we support them. If we all just practiced, “Love your neighbor as yourself”, imagine the world we could live in. I encourage everyone to attend and show your support.”