Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Engraving Day 2011: Remembering Trooper Wesley Brown

Growing up in a rough and oftentimes dangerous area, Maryland State Trooper Wesley Washington John Brown experienced a great deal of violence in his young life — he was once stabbed and even shot in the leg. These experiences taught him the importance of safety and public service. Trooper Brown wanted to make a difference, which is why he took pride in becoming a law enforcement officer.

But Trooper Brown didn’t end his service there —as an adult, he created the group “Young Men Enlightening Younger Men,” to mentor teenagers to live a life free of violence and drugs. To help finance his mentoring program, Trooper Brown took a department-approved part-time job, working security at a local restaurant.

On the night of June 10, 2010, Trooper Brown, working his part time job, escorted a customer who refused to pay his bill to the parking lot outside the restaurant, when the suspect opened fire and fatally shot Trooper Brown. He died in the early morning of June 11th. He was only 24 years old and served with the Maryland State Police for four years.

Today, Trooper Brown’s colleagues, friends, and family gathered to formally unveil his name on the walls of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial as part of the annual Engraving Day ceremony.

In his opening remarks, Craig W. Floyd, Chairman & CEO of the Memorial Fund said, "As I look around these grounds, I see so many of his colleagues from the Maryland State Police and from surrounding agencies. That, to me, is the greatest tribute of all. These men and women will now be following in Wesley’s footsteps.

Maryland State Police Col. Terrence B. Sheridan lamented, “…Wesley was 24 years of age. We don’t know what he would have accomplished in his lifetime but we do know in a very short time he accomplished a lot. More than most people do in a life time… He was one of those Troopers that everyone enjoyed working with and being around.

After a short ceremony, the Maryland State Police Honor Guard led his friends and family over to panel 19-E. Two Troopers removed a blue curtain from the wall, and Trooper Brown’s mother, Patricia Bell, approached the wall, teary-eyed, to do an etching of her son’s newly engraved name followed by Trooper Brown’s father Sylvester Brown.  Also on hand were the Trooper’s sisters and brother.

As a testament to Trooper Brown’s life, several of the young men he mentored attended today’s ceremony. Eugene W. Grant, Mayor of Seat Pleasant, MD — Trooper Brown’s hometown — was also present to extend his well wishes, as was Ebony Norris, Trooper Brown’s fiancĂ©e, who currently serves with the Metropolitan Police Department of Washington, DC.