A violent past two weeks in the Southland has served as a sobering reminder of how much law enforcement risks to protect us. San Bernardino Sheriff's deputy Jeremiah MacKay will be laid to rest Thursday after paying the ultimate price during the Christopher Dorner manhunt. The city of Beaumont is taking the new steps to honor their fallen.
The Beaumont Civic Center sits in the middle of the small city. To the left, a walkway leads to a statue of an eagle watching over the names of hundreds of veterans who died serving our country. To the right, the beginnings of a tribute to the brave police officers and firefighters who protect us at home.
"They're the ones that oversee us at night when we're asleep," said Jeff Fox, the Beaumont city council member who pushed for the memorial. "Just like your mom and dad tuck you in when you're a kid, they tuck us in at night, they watch over us, just like our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan."
Just like the five brave firefighters who lost their lives in the 2006 Esperanza fire. It serves as an emotional reminder. "For me personally, starting my career here, some 20 years ago, with the intent to retire from here, it's very heartwarming for me to see the community support us in that way," said Beaumont police Commander Scott Beard.
One of the first names to be etched into the stone will be Michael Crain. The Beaumont resident and Riverside county police officer who was laid to rest last week last after losing his life in the Christopher Dorner manhunt. "Being able to recognize his service and recognize his service it means a lot to us as a community to show that support that extends outside of our community," said Beard.
While police officers wear a stripe on their badges to help them remember, the stone plaques will serve as a permanent reminder of Crain and others' sacrifice. It's a small reflection of the city's appreciation. "They treat us like home," said Captain Manuel Reyes, from Cal Fire in Beaumont. "It's good support, its just a good time small town feel, that's why I love this community."
People can also show their love by funding and helping to build the memorial. The city is selling special challenge coins and engraved bricks which will the walkway.
Coins are available at the Beaumont Civic Center, located at 550 E. 6th Street and the Albert A. Chatigny Community Recreation Center, located at 1310 Oak Valley Parkway.
For more information, call 951-769-8520 or visit www.BeaumontCares.com.