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dedicated to lives sacrificed in public service


Catawba County Public Safety Memorial

Roll Call of Fallen Officers

Deputy James Alvin McRee
Catawba County Sheriff’s Department
Date of Death: November 3, 1937
Family: Family members reside in California

Deputy McRee died in an automobile accident that occurred while he and three other deputies were racing to a home hoping to serve warrants on a suspect in a hit-and-run case. Investigators had apparently gotten an overnight tip that the suspect was in a home in the Plateau community but, if they did not get there quickly, the opportunity to arrest the suspect would be lost. The patrol car overturned on the way to the residence and rolled down an embankment. Mr. McRee was killed in the accident.

Assistant Chief Paul E. Mackie
Bandy’s Fire Department
Date of Death: June 30, 1965
Family: Widow, Mrs. Ruth M. Mackie, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren

Mr. Mackie was a long time resident of the Bandys area and assistant chief of the Bandys Volunteer Fire Department.  He stopped at a log barn fire and called in volunteers to assist with the blaze. Mr. Mackie began to feel ill during the fire and died a short time later at his home as a result of exposure to hazardous chemicals.

Firefighter Craig W. Drum
Bandy’s Fire Department
Date of Death: July 20, 1965
Family: Daughter, Tammy Fletcher

Firefighter Craig Drum was one of the volunteers called in by Mr. Mackie to help battle the log barn fire. Mr. Drum also got sick the night of the fire. He died 21 days after the fire and exposure to hazardous chemicals.

Deputy John O. Yount
Catawba County Sheriff’s Department
Date of Death: October 1, 1967
Family: Son, Mr. Albert Yount

On October 1, 1967, Deputy Yount and his partner had just arrested an individual. As they were In route to the County Jail with the prisioner , Deputy Yount suddenly stopped the patrol car he was driving and slumped over. He was taken to then Catawba Memorial Hospital where he later died.

Officer Jerald W. Maynor
Hickory Police Department
Date of Death: August 9, 1977
Family: Widow, Sharon Maynor, and children

Officer Maynor was shot and killed in a training accident on August 9, 1977. While training with other officers, one of his fellow officers accidently dropped his service weapon and it discharged, hitting Maynor.

Captain Bradley S. Long
Sherrills Ford – Terrell Fire Rescue Department
Date of Death: June 6, 2016
Family: Parents : Jerry and Signora Long, Sister: Amy Long Shearer, Brother: Chad Long, Girlfriend: Allyson Sigmon

Captain Long died during a recovery diving mission on Lake Norman while searching for a missing swimmer. He was a longtime firefighter for the Sherrills Ford – Terrell Fire Rescue Department and for the City of Newton Fire Department. Captain Long was 28 years old at the time of his death.

History of Public Safety Officers Memorial

In April 2006, the Catawba County Board of Commissioners was approached regarding a memorial for peace officers. A committee was established representing local law enforcement (both police and sheriff), fire, emergency medical service, and rescue to discuss a memorial, draft guidelines and appropriate location.

Committee members included:
Sheriff David Huffman, Catawba County
Chief Gary Lafone, Conover Police
Chief Gerald Tolbert, Claremont Police
Major Tom Adkins, Hickory Police
Chief Kevin Yoder, Newton Fire and Fire Association President
Chief Jody Smyre, Claremont Fire and Rescue Association Commander
Tom Lundy, Catawba County Manager
David Weldon, Emergency Services Director

At its meeting May 7, 2007, the Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the location of the memorial in front of Justice Center and the following criteria for inclusion on the memorial:

For the purpose of this Memorial, "public safety officer" means an individual involved in law enforcement, fire, emergency medical service, or rescue, who is directly employed on a full-time or part-time basis or a volunteer, acting on behalf of a local city or county agency in Catawba County, North Carolina, with or without compensation.

"Line of duty" means any action, which an officer is obligated or authorized by law, rule, regulation, written condition of employment service to perform, or for which the officer is compensated by the public agency he or she serves.

The term "dies in the line of duty" means a public safety officer has died as a direct and proximate result of a personal injury sustained in the line of duty. This includes public safety officers who, while in an off-duty capacity, are actually en route to or from a specific emergency or responding to a particular request for assistance.

Not included in the definition of “dies in the line of duty” are deaths attributed to natural causes, except when the medical condition arises out of physical exertion, while on duty, that is required by law or condition of employment.
Committee members have reviewed a list of individuals who passed away while in the various services. Five individuals met the criteria for inclusion on the Memorial.

The cost of the memorial will be borne by the County and participating cities. Donations from other organizations or individuals would be accepted to defray the cost of upkeep and maintenance. Checks may be made payable to Catawba County.