By Gwen Sisson
For the WPT
Eupora Police Chief Gregg Hunter said Oct. 23, 2013, will be a “day that will never be forgotten.”
It was on Oct. 23 that Eupora Police Officer Keith Crenshaw died in the line of duty, setting up a roadblock on U.S. 82 to stop bank robbery suspects. Crenshaw is the only police officer in Webster County history known to have passed away in the line of duty.
“This monument will make sure that Keith’s sacrifice will never be forgotten, even after we are long gone,” Hunter said.
About 100 citizens gathered last week at City Hall for the special dedication service for a monument, flagpole and flags honoring Crenshaw’s memory. Hunter welcomed the crowd and shared words of comfort and encouragement to the family.
Eupora Police Officer Derek May shared a prayer and a poem, reflecting the life of officers.
“On behalf of the city of Eupora and the Eupora Police Department, this city has many dedicated employees,” said Vice Mayor Jerry Gary. “We especially want to honor anyone who has made the ultimate sacrifice for us and ensure they will always be remembered.”
Gary introduced Benny Duett, the state commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, who presented the Crenshaw family with a special plaque remembering the officer’s service. The plaque was part of the First Responder Program of the Order of the Purple Heart to recognize officers who pass away in the line of duty.
Mississippi Highway Patrolman Freddie Pate, personal friend of Crenshaw’s, shared a poem Crenshaw kept in his police car titled “When Tomorrow Starts Without Me” by Elizabeth Doris Fries. It was the same poem that was read at Crenshaw’s funeral last October.
The memorial dedication ended as Milinda Norwood, administrative assistant for the Eupora PD, released blue and white balloons as the crowd stood in a moment of silence.
Valerie Crenshaw Palmer, Officer Crenshaw’s sister who was on hand for the memorial dedication service on April 9 in front of the police station, said the family was so appreciative.
“This memorial is not only a lasting reminder of our beloved Keith, but also a reminder of the love and compassion of this community and the citizens of Webster County,” Palmer said.
“Keith truly loved his job, he loved serving the citizens of the community, and could always be counted on to help with anything that was asked of him. Our family will always be grateful for this wonderful reminder of Keith. As it says on the monument, he was a friend to all. Thank you all for remembering him in such a special way.”
Palmer also said the Crenshaw family would like to express its appreciation and thanks to Hunter and the EPD for organizing the memorial and dedication.
Special thanks was given to Willie Reed of Wise-Reed Funeral Home for donating the monument, and American Legion Post 45 and CB&S Bank for donating the flagpole and flags, and to the city workers that worked hard to install the monument and flagpole.
Editor’s Note: State Rep. Joey Hood (District 35) authored a bill during the past legislative session that, in part, designates a segment of Highway 82 in Webster County as the “Keith Alan Crenshaw Memorial Highway.” See Hood’s column in this issue.