On the heels of financial commitments from the Brevard County Commissioners and two national law enforcement organizations, as well as support from numerous businesses, individuals and television’s John Walsh, the American Police Hall of Fame put shovels to dirt Oct. 16 in preparation for “phase one.”
Pictured, from left are: Brian Blanchard of the Tourism Development Council, Brian Donnelly of the 9463 Foundation, Chief John Lau of Titusville Police Department, Al Boettjer of the Police Benevolent Association, Sheriff Wayne Ivey of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, Congressman Bill Posey, Barry Shepherd of American Police Hall of Fame, Brevard County Commissioner Rita Pritchett, William Chivers of Rush Construction, and Titusville Mayor Walt Johnson. Photo by Tara Dixon Engel
“We began developing plans for this monument five years ago,” Executive Director Barry Shepherd told the assembled celebrants. “And we are so proud and thrilled to finally be breaking ground on it. It’s even more significant that we are doing so the day after celebrating our 60th anniversary. We are starting the next 60 years with great momentum and purpose.”
Titusville Mayor Walt Johnson presents Executive Director Barry Shepherd with a commemorative plaque. Photo by Tara Dixon Engel
The Flame will pay tribute to law enforcement officers lost in the line of duty as well as to those who patrol the streets of America daily. The Walk of Heroes offers an opportunity for individuals, clubs, businesses etc. to purchase either a 4x8 or an 8x8 brick.
“There is still time to purchase a brick for the first installation. This can be done on a secure site that you can access by going to www.USWalkofHeroes.org or you can download a form and mail in your order,” explained Tara Dixon Engel, President of the Hall of Fame. “We have already begun clearing ground and, with the groundbreaking finished, we will be grading the land and prepping for paver installation. It is an exciting time around here. After the craziness and delays of 2020, we are ready to hit the ground running in 2021.”
During the Friday ceremony, letters of support for the project were read from “America’s Most Wanted” star John Walsh, Senator Rick Scott (who prepared a video presentation), Governor Ron DeSantis, Congressman Bill Posey (who attended and read his letter), the NRA, the Police Benevolent Association, the NYPD’s 10-13 Club, the 9463 Foundation and others. Visitors were treated to a replica of the planned Flame, complete with hundreds of twinkling lights on the stem of the structure, just below the flame itself. Guests of honor also included Commissioner Rita Pritchett, former Commissioner Robin Fisher, officials from Rush construction, board members and staff from The American Police Hall of Fame & Museum, and many others.
“In response to the phone calls we are getting, yes, there is still opportunity for sponsorships or donations, both financial and in-kind, for the project,” Shepherd noted. “The pinnacle donor spot is still available and we have a short list of companies in mind for that leadership gift, but we will meet with others who express interest in that level of visibility and involvement. Those seeking additional donor opportunities can contact Tara Dixon Engel at the Hall of Fame, while sponsorships are being handled by our Director of Sales, Events & Protocol, Janey Hicks.”