DEER LODGE — The sacrifice of love for family, community and country was the focus of the Law Enforcement Memorial service held at the Old Montana Prison Tuesday afternoon.
Law enforcement personnel from across the state, including Broadwater County Sheriff’s Deputy Mason Moore’s co-workers and friends, the Deer Lodge Veterans Honor Guard, local and state dignitaries and private citizens gathered under clear blue skies to pay tribute to officers who paid the ultimate price while protecting our safety.
Montana State Prison Pastor Bob Nedbalek recalled that last year during the memorial service on May 15 he thanked God there were no new inductees into the Law Enforcement Hall of Honor.
“But that changed the next day when Deputy Moore was killed,” he said.
Letters from Sens. Jon Tester and Steve Daines were read.
Tester thanked Montana’s current and former uniformed officers for their hard work as they face danger day in and day out.
Daines wrote that we owe the officers in the Hall of Honor a debt we cannot repay.
Daines said Mason Moore had an incredible commitment to his community and the State of Montana. He sent heartfelt condolences to Moore's family, friends and co-workers.
Chaplain Eric Crusch of the Broadwater County Sheriff’s Department was the keynote speaker. Crusch said he was a new graduate of chaplain’s school on May 16, 2017 when he received a call at 2:48 a.m. of “officer down” and was thrust into the situation of comforting Moore’s wife, Jody and his family.
“One of the first things she said that morning and what has become a theme for Jody and the family is ‘love wins’, and love is going to win in the end,” Crusch said.
He quoted from the Gospel of St. John 15:13 “Greater love hath no man than this that he lay down his life for his friends.”
Crusch said, “We need to make sure that we remember and honor all of the fallen law enforcement officers with the idea that love wins. And thank our officers for their continued commitment to serving and going out daily to keep us safe. It is now more difficult for them to do their job.
“It’s an honor to be part of a department that lost an officer,” he said. “Remember, in the end love does truly win.”
The Powell County High School Select Choir, under the direction of Karen Herrin, sang the moving song, “To Where You Are,” a reminder that love lives on in the hearts of those left behind.
Nedbalek closed the service with a passionate prayer of protection for the safety of all those who are protecting our safety and our freedom.
The ceremony concluded as the Veterans Honor Guard fired a 21-gun salute and the haunting sound of Taps echoed off the gray stone walls. Then many of the people visited the Law Enforcement Memorial Hall of Honor, some remembering other officers enshrined on the walls.