Friday, August 14, 2009

Handmade Banner Honors Law Enforcement Sacrifice

Five years ago, Police Chaplain David Matthew Duffany of Riverdale, MD, attended a service at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial with his friend, Sergeant Steven Gaughan of the Prince George's County (MD) Police Department. Chaplain Duffany recalls interacting with a woman that day who helped him more fully appreciate something very important about the Memorial: the names on its walls are more than law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice; they are husbands and wives, sons and daughters ... people like the rest of us who did something very extraordinary.

To show his support for law enforcement and the survivors these heroes left behind, Chaplain Duffany began constructing a banner with patches of law enforcement agencies represented on the Memorial. The banner began with just three patches, but over time Chaplain Duffany acquired many more during events such as National Police Weeks. The pair had always intended to donate the banner to the collection of the National Law Enforcement Museum.

Tragically, Sergeant Gaughan never had a chance to see the finished product. On July 21, 2005, he was shot and killed following a traffic stop in Laurel, MD. The 15-year veteran left behind a wife and two children. His name is engraved on Panel 27-West, Line 25 of the Memorial. Chaplain Duffany says the banner reminds him that his friend is still with him. He hopes it can provide hope and comfort to other survivors as well.

In July, Chaplain Duffany stopped by the NLEOMF offices to show the banner to NLEOMF Chairman and CEO Craig Floyd. Thanks to Chaplain Duffany, Sergeant Gaughan's service and sacrifice will be forever represented in a banner that the two men worked on together to honor all of law enforcement's heroes.