By Russell Hood
The Webster Progress-Times
Family members, friends, law enforcement officers, local and state officials gathered in Eupora last week for the dedication
of the “Keith Alan Crenshaw Memorial Highway.”
The state Legislature unanimously passed House Bill 615 so designating and naming the segment of U.S. 82 in Webster County between the east and west intersections with Mississippi 182 to honor the fallen police officer’s memory. The Mississippi Department of Transportation has erected signs along and approaching that segment of highway and will maintain them.
People filled First Baptist Church’s Family Life Center to show support for the July 31 dedication ceremony that commemorated Crenshaw’s life. He was struck and killed by a getaway car Oct. 23 after an attempted bank robbery here and an armed robbery in Grenada as he deployed a spike strip across U.S. 82 near the Highway 9 bypass (see related article).
Crenshaw, 52, had served with the Eupora Police Department for 10 years. He was also a certified rescue diver, a longtime member of the Eupora Fire Department and a member of the Sobriety Trained Officers Representing Mississippi in which he was dedicated to pursuing and arresting drivers under the influence. He is survived by six children and five grandchildren
Northern District Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert said the memorial will serve to remember Crenshaw, his sacrifice and dedication, and that the signs will help people remember what’s truly important. “He sacrificed everything for his community and all of us,” said Tagert.
Crenshaw’s sister, Valerie Palmer, spoke on behalf of the family. She thanked those who made the memorial designation possible — “This is a huge honor to Keith’s memory and his family.”
Palmer said Crenshaw loved the community and truly was a friend to all, adding that he left a legacy of memories and made a difference in the lives of many people. Since his death, she said people have told the family about little things he did for them.
She said her brother lived by the words of Philippians 2:3-5 and had a servant’s heart. The Bible passage reads, “Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus (HCSB).”
Palmer said it was her wish that people will remember Crenshaw and his sacrifice for everyone when they pass by the signs. “Keith is with us each and every day — just think of him. … He’s alive in our heart, always.
District 15 Sen. Gary Jackson presented the Crenshaw family a framed copy of Senate Concurrent Resolution 557, which he co-authored, commending Crenshaw’s life and public service.
District 35 Rep. Joey Hood, who authored HB 615, said Crenshaw gave the ultimate sacrifice to protect the people of Eupora and Webster County. “Our community here is mindful of the sacrifice Officer Crenshaw made to protect his community,” he said.
Of his longtime friend who had always wanted to work in law enforcement, Mayor Dan Burchfield said, “He spent his entire life … trying to help others, loving others and taking care of others.”
Also referring to Philippians, Burchfield said Crenshaw was what a public servant should be and was a model for everyone: “Keith helped people every day he was on the job.”
Eupora Chief of Police Greg Hunter said Crenshaw gave his life for the safety of the community’s citizens and his fellow officers, and that his sacrifice will always be remembered with the highway designation.
“God bless the men and women of law enforcement,” Hunter added.
The ceremony began with the presentation of color by the Mississippi Highway Patrol Honor Guard. Also from the MHP, Staff Sgt. Brett Goodin sang the national anthem and Trooper Brad Latham played “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes. Deputy Sheriff Jimmy Forrester, a family friend, read a poem by his mother, Hazel Forrester, titled “In Memory of Keith Crenshaw.”