Every year at this time a memorial service is held to remember those who've sacrificed their lives in the line of duty. It’s all part of national police week. Locally, the service began with a procession of emergency vehicles. The procession has made its way here to the Florian Gardens in Eau Claire where a memorial service will be held to honor the fallen police officers that have been killed in the line of duty.
Law enforcement officers from across northwest Wisconsin, their families and the public participated in the service that was taking time to remember their brothers and sisters that have served before them.
"Any of these high stress, high level jobs you need the camaraderie. You need to know someone's got your back," says Ron Cramer, Eau Claire County Sheriff.
During the service...fifty two names were read. They were the names of officers that were killed in the line of duty. One of those names was Chippewa county deputy Jason Zunker. Zunker died in January 2008 after being hit by a vehicle as he was rerouting traffic on the scene of a semi fire.
"Everyday I put on this uniform I think about him," says Trooper Mike Marcks. He was the keynote speaker and was at the scene when Zunker died. He recalled his struggle after the tragedy...even considering changing professions. But the brother and sisterhood of law enforcement helped him through it.
”Honestly I couldn't come up with an answer. Because I love what I do because of all the people like you. I pressed on and things got better and I continue to have the support of everyone around me."
"I get emotionally touched by anyone who can do that. It's a gift," said Cramer.
"I went through three Kleenexes when I was listening to it. It was very, very emotional," says Larry LaPage who is a father of an officer.
Marcks says without talking about the incident in his support group there would be no way he could have stood at the podium today. He says a smile or wave when you see an officer is a simple way to show their valor is appreciated.
"As inscribed on the national law enforcement memorial in Washington DC...in valor there is hope."