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‘Service above self’: KSP Post 9 honors fallen troopers

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Published: May. 16, 2022 at 7:40 PM EDT
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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) -Kentucky State Police Post 9 kicked off National Police Week Monday with a traveling convoy to memorialize fallen troopers across the Big Sandy region.

Three troopers in the Post 9 area were recognized Monday: Trooper Jerome S. Clifton, 30, was shot in the line of duty Oct. 1, 1980, and is now buried in Floyd County. Trooper Johnny Adkins died after being injured while attempting to arrest a suspect in Martin County Nov. 19, 1995 and is now buried in Inez. Trooper Jonathan Leonard, 28, died in a crash Dec. 19, 2006 and is now buried in the Huddy community of Pike County.

Troopers gathered at each grave site Monday, placing wreaths and taking a moment of silence to recognize their contributions to the community.

“It’s good to come out here and show the honor and respect to these troopers that paid the ultimate sacrifice in the name of service above self,” said Post 9 PAO, Tpr. Michael Coleman.

Coleman said it is always a good way to invite families to be part of the moment. Something of which troopers say it is a blessing to be a part.

“I know Trooper Leonard’s family. Grew up in the community,” said Tpr. Timothy Smith. “They’re great people. And it is a honor and a privilege to come out here and be here for him today and the family as well.”

Trooper Coleman said it is about recognizing the fallen heroes and reminding the family those acts of sacrifice and service will forever be in the stories they share.

“This is a way for us to show the newer generation of troopers: That the sacrifice that these troopers paid? That has paved the way for where we are now,” said Coleman. “So the family knows their trooper’s not going to be forgotten- that we’re always going to remember the sacrifice that he paid.”

Smith said the wreath placement was always an outreach he saw in the news or in the community before he began his journey as a trooper. But being part of the ceremony as a new trooper gave him a different perspective.

“Being here today, it just shows how important and what it really means to be a part of the thin gray line,” he said. “We never want them to feel like they are forgotten.”

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