Kirk Bockman and Jim Lee have engraved all 18,274 names on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. Today’s edition of USA Today has a moving story on their work at the Memorial, the care they put into it and the special meaning it has for these two men from Colorado. The online version of the story features compelling video testimonials by Kirk and Jim.
“When we do this, we really fell like we become part of their family history,” Bockman told USA Today’s Kevin Johnson. “It’s very sensitive works,” says Lee. “You have to remember you are dealing with people’s emotions.”
The news story describes in detail the process Kirk and Jim use to engrave the names – and the precision they bring to the process. Often times, their handiwork is observed by family members and colleagues of the fallen officers who want to be there at the moment their loved ones’ names are revealed. “It was bittersweet, very emotional,” Karen Highbarger told USA Today after watching her son’s name engraved on Panel 11-W, Line 26. Her son, Smithsburg (MD) Police Officer Christopher Nicholson, was shot and killed in the line of duty last December “It was very special to watch,” she said.
According to Berneta Spence, the Memorial Fund’s director of research, more than three dozen victims’ relatives – some from as far away as Utah and Arizona – asked to watch their loved ones’ names engraved this year. Kirk and Jim wrapped up their work on May 3 – then, before leaving town, headed over to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to add a name there. The pair from Colorado has engraved many of the names on that national treasure as well.
Read the full story and watch the video on usatoday.com.