Jessamine County Fire District Station 1 was crowded with elected officials, law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency medical personnel among others Monday evening of the dedication and sign presentation ceremony as U.S. 27 in Jessamine County was rechristened “Jessamine County Fallen Heroes Memorial Highway.”
“As our country remembers one of its most sorrowful days on the 16th anniversary of 9/11, we will also celebrate the sacrifice and bravery of our own first responders, and give special honor to those who have lost their lives protecting our families and our communities,” said 39th House District Representative Russ Meyer. “I am honored and humbled to have been a part of the legislative process that ensured one of the most prominent roadways in Jessamine County will showcase signage that reflects our collective will to recognize these first responders as the true heroes they are.”
Meyer said that the planning for the event began in 2016 to honor the county’s first responders, who he said were the most important people in the community, as well as their family members and the memory of those who fell while serving.
Jessamine County Circuit Clerk Doug Fain also spoke at the event, on behalf of families like his own who had lost loved ones in the line of duty. Fain said he lost his brother nearly 25 years ago.
“While we would give anything to have those people back, we take comfort in knowing…they died doing something they truly loved,” Fain said. “When you think about it, there’s not many people in this world that die doing something they truly love. That’s an honor that’s bestowed on few.”
Fain told the audience that the definition of hero is a person who is admired or idolized for courage, outstanding achievements or noble qualities, and a highway is defined as a main road connecting or linking two communities. He said that naming the roadway “Heroes Highway” was symbolic in how the county is linked by the heroes that serve and protect the communities today as well as those who sacrificed in the past.
“So on this most solemn day in our country, it is appropriate that we not only remember our fallen, but those who continue day in and day out to be our community heroes by merely doing and being able to do their job,” Fain said.
“We are hoping that each time you travel this road and you see this sign, that if only for a moment, you remember what was involved in getting it there and what is involved every day for your benefit by our heroes.”
Organizations from within the county that participated in the dedication included the Jessamine County Sheriff’s Department, the Nicholasville Police Department, the Wilmore Police Department, Jessamine County Detention Center, the City of Wilmore Fire Department, Fire and Rescue, the Nicholasville Fire Department, Jessamine County Fire Department, Jessamine County 911, and Jessamine County EMS.
According to Meyer, the sign is scheduled to be erected next week.
The list of fallen officers in the line of duty from Jessamine County who were recognized at the dedication, along with their End of Watch includes:
Special Deputy Ward Pentz, Jessamine County Sheriff’s Office, EOW May 20, 1906;
Deputy Jailer Logan Young, Jessamine County Jail, EOW Dec. 27, 1908;
Officer William P. Ketron, Nicholasville Police Department, EOW June 25, 1941;
Deputy Ethelbert Wainscott, Jessamine Co. Sheriff’s Office, EOW Feb. 24, 1990;
Chief William M. Wheeler, Jessamine Co. Fire District, EOW Jan. 2, 1993;
Firefighter Cecil A. Fain, Jessamine Co. Fire District, EOW Jan. 2, 1993;
Deputy Billy R. Walls III, Jessamine Co. Sheriff’s Office, EOW Nov. 13, 2001;
Captain Charles B. Morgan, Jessamine Co. Sheriff’s Office, EOW Nov. 28, 2001;
Dispatcher Larry Darby, Jessamine County Central Communications, EOW Dec. 24, 2001;
Firefighter Joseph S. Northup Sr., Jessamine Co. Fire District, EOW Apr. 1, 2004;
Officer Burke J. Rhoads, Nicholasville Police Department, EOW March 11, 2015 ;
Paramedic John E. Mackey, Jessamine Co. Emergency Medical Services, EOW Nov. 9, 2015.