Law Enforcement and the Community Celebrates Fallen Heroes in Grand Forks
Officers from North Dakota, Minnesota, and Canada celebrate National Peace Officer Memorial Day
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Each strike of the bell carried a name, a date, a rose, and a silent moment of gratitude for their service.
The bell echoed across downtown Grand Forks 61 times, one for each local law enforcement official who lost their lives to serve and protect their communities.
“These people all gave their lives to make this place a better place to live,” said Sheriff Bob Rost of the Grand Forks County Sheriff’s Office.
For the last eight years, officers from the Northern Red River Valley come together to celebrate those who paid the ultimate sacrifice and to remember the magnitude of wearing the badge each day.
“I think it’s one of the most important things we can do in law enforcement. We truly do need to show respect for those who came before us and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. I know for our department we thankfully only lost one officer, but that’s one too many,” said Chief Michael Hedlund of the East Grand Forks Police Department.
That one loss came on July 19, 1978, when East Grand Forks Patrol Officer Kenneth Olson lost his life in the line of duty.
“He was a dedicated officer, he was a quiet, gentle guy,” said Bonnie Andrys on her late husband.
40 years after her husband passed away, Andrys has been grateful for how the East Grand Forks Police Department has always been there for her.
“We had been married for exactly four months to the day, he was 25 and so I was ill–equipped to handle such a tragedy, the officers were good to rally around,” said Andrys.
Each year, Andrys puts down a rose to celebrate her fallen husband.
“It’s something the family lives with every day, and it’s something the officers left behind live with every day,” said Andrys.
Days like today remind the community that officers go above and beyond to protect and serve.
Members of the Air Force and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police also attended the ceremony in Grand Forks.