Rupert Becker’s name was among those intoned Saturday night at a ceremony to unveil Lorain County’s new Law Enforcement and Fire/EMS Service Memorial in Elyria.
The Amherst constable was shot to death in April 1916 while responding to a downtown bar disturbance.
Also remembered was state trooper Kenneth Velez of Lorain, whose children attended the Amherst Schools. Velez died in September 2016, struck by a passing car on I-90 in Lakewood.
The two tragedies — separated by a century — will be mourned each spring when police gather to honor their fallen comrades.
The Lorain County Police Memorial ceremony has traditionally rotated among departments but now has a permanent home at the seven-foot-tall stone marker on 3rd Street in downtown Elyria. The annual event will be held there starting in 2019.
Nineteen local officers have lost their lives in the line of duty down through the decades, as have two firefighters from our county: Elyria’s Earl Shelton in 1982 and Wellington’s Allan “Buz” Anderson Jr. in 2006, according to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.
“When I am called to duty, God, whenever flames may rage, give me the strength to save some life whatever be its age,” a fire and EMS inscription reads on the polished stone. “Help me to embrace a little child before it’s too late or some older person from the horror of that fate.”
A “Parade of Lights” followed the memorial dedication Saturday, featuring police and fire vehicles paying tribute to those who gave all.
The pomp was part of a dedication of the Lorain County Courthouse, which has undergone $3 million in renovations.
Designed by architect Elijah Myers, the original building was constructed with Amherst sandstone. Work started in 1878 and finished three years later; the courthouse was added to the National Register of Historical Places in 1975.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.