Fallen deputies honored by Richland County Sheriff’s Department
COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — May 15th is known as Peace Officers Memorial Day — a day that honors fallen law enforcement and marks the beginning of what’s known as Police Week.
As part of this recognition, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department held a memorial service Monday morning to pay respect to deputies who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
“We will never forget. We will make sure we do everything we can every single day to honor their memory. Not just for those of us who are here, but those who will follow us,” says Sheriff Leon Lott.
Major Maria Yturria read the names of the eight deputies and one K-9 deputy who have died while serving: Jerry Hurd, Byron Keith Cannon, Ryan Rawl, Donnie Reno Washington, K9 Fargo, Edward Joseph Alva, Darral Keith Lane, John Mark Dial, and Allen F. Bennett.
Kevin Cannon lost his brother, Deputy Sheriff Byron Cannon, to a head-on collision while on patrol in 2005.
“He was kind of a clown, he was very comedic. But he took his job seriously. He always knew what he wanted to do even when we were growing up. He was the guy that would be in the mirror for two hours making sure his hair was perfect. And I never understood why he wanted to put on an officer’s uniform because I thought he was a suit and tie kind of guy. But he always knew what he wanted to do and took his job very seriously,” says Cannon.
Diane Rawl’s son, 1st Lieutenant Ryan Rawl, was killed by a suicide bomber while deployed in Afghanistan in 2012. He was also a deputy with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department.
“He left two children. A four-year-old and a two-year-old who are now 15 and 13. His little boy is just like him. He’s full of life, not really a care in the world. I said Ryan would never have a heart attack. I knew that, because he just lets everything roll off of his shoulders. He loves serving people. He was a deputy for a while and then became an SRO Officer,” says Rawl.
Both Cannon and Rawl say the pain never goes away, but they learn to cope.
“To me he’s still with me, and I have a lot of good memories together. So it (the memorial service) does help. You just learn to live with it,” says Cannon.
“We live with that everyday. That pain has not eased off, we just take it with us. Carry it with us like a load,” says Rawl.