Officer Robert C. Ussery
(End of Watch: July 21, 1978)
Detective Mary P. McCord
(End of Watch: January 5, 1982)
Officer Keith Edwin Houts
(End of Watch: September 30, 2006)
Today was a special day. The police department of my city, Montgomery, Alabama, held their annual service to honor these remarkable people and to remember their fallen fellow officers. It was a time to reflect on their lives and their sacrifices and to thank those who put themselves in danger for our safety and well-being every single day.
It's been my honor and privilege to paint a portrait of a fallen officer for the ceremony for the past three years. Posthumous portraits can be difficult if you didn't know the person you're painting; never had a chance to see them laugh or walk or the way they hold their head. I try to find out what I can about their personalities and, honestly, talk out loud to the photograph sometimes....looking intensely in their eyes and hoping to see what made them 'them'.
I pray I accomplish that. I have noticed a common thread....hearts of love and a desire to serve combined with toughness and strength and bravery....people to be admired and appreciated and remembered.