My Catawba County

Presenting Our Nation’s Colors

Presenting Our Nation’s Colors

The Fourth of July is all about the red, white and blue – and so is the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard, a group of deputies who present our nation’s colors, the American flag, at public events. This includes the very special duty of honoring fallen officers at funerals and memorials.  We asked Catawba County Sheriff’s Lieutenant William Wilson to fill us in on what this team is all about.

What is the Catawba County Sheriff’s Honor Guard, and what is its purpose?
The Catawba County Sheriff’s Honor Guard is a formal representation of the Sheriff’s Office at fallen officer funerals, retired officer funerals, memorials and any public event where the American flag is presented. Funeral honors are presented to current deputies and officers who have died in the line of duty as well as those who have honorably retired.

The Honor Guard was established by a desire of a group of deputies wishing to show their respects and ensure their fallen brothers’ memory would not be forgotten.

Catawba County Sheriff’s Office has had four line of duty deaths. Deputy Sheriff James A. Mcree, Deputy Sheriff John O. Yount and Lieutenant Ted C. Elmore all died from injuries sustained while serving Catawba County. All three names were engraved into the limestone memorial wall at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington D.C. in 2008, when the 2008 Honor Guard team traveled to Washington, D.C., and competed in The Steve Young National Honor Guard Exhibition & Tribute. [Editor’s note: The primary photo accompanying this story is from the 2008 exhibition.]

The Steve Young National Honor Guard Exhibition & Tribute provides an opportunity for law enforcement organizations to perform ceremonious and patriotic tributes for public viewing. These teams are a highly dedicated group of law enforcement officers that represent organizations from all across this great nation and Canada. They converge on the Nation’s Capital every year for National Police Week, where peace officers are honored for their dedicated service to the protection of our communities. The day of May 15 is known as National Peace Officers’ Memorial Day, a day when the nation honors those officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice. This event is the tribute that these teams give to honor our fallen officers and their families.

In May 2022, Deputy Sheriff Dennis Dixon was honored in Rocky Mount, NC, at the North Carolina Peace Officers Memorial. Later in May, his name was added to the limestone memorial wall in Washington D.C. His wife and sons were escorted to each event by Honor Guard members during this time of remembrance.

What kinds of events or activities does the Honor Guard support?
Each year the Honor Guard presents our nation’s colors at Memorial Day events, 9/11 ceremonies, Wreaths Across America, multiple Basic Law Enforcement Training graduations, and national, state and local police week memorial services. The Honor Guard also presents Funeral Honors to deputies and other law enforcement officers upon request.

What does the Honor Guard typically do at events?
The most common task for the Honor Guard is a formal presentation of our nation’s colors. During a funeral detail, the Honor Guard will perform casket guard and burial traditions such as flag folding and 21 gun salutes.

Who serves in the Honor Guard, and how do they become part of it? How long do they typically serve?
The Catawba County Sheriff’s Honor Guard is comprised of deputies from various divisions within the Sheriff’s Office. All deputies serving on the team accept the assignment in addition to their normal duties for a minimum of three years, though most serve longer. To be considered, a deputy must represent the Sheriff’s Office in the most professional manner at all times, be disciplined, be willing to be called into service at a moment’s notice, and demonstrates he/she will put others’ needs before their own. Upholding the traditions of our profession and honoring our brothers and sisters is of the utmost importance.

Can someone request the presence of the Honor Guard at and event, and if so, how?
Contact the Sheriff’s Office for further information, (828)-464-5241.

Is there anything you’d like to add about the Honor Guard?
In 1962, President Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the calendar week in which May 15 falls as National Police Week. Established by a joint resolution of Congress in 1962, National Police Week pays special recognition to those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others.

Deputy Sheriff James Alvin McRee
Catawba County Sheriff's Office, North Carolina
End of Watch: Wednesday, November 3, 1937
Biographical Info
Tour of Duty: 3 years
Incident Details
Cause of Death:
Automobile accident
Date of Incident: Wednesday, November 3, 1937
Deputy James McRee succumbed to injuries sustained in an automobile accident the previous day. He and two other deputies were en route to the Plateau section of the county to serve search warrants at four homes when their vehicle left the roadway and went down a 30-foot embankment. The other deputies and a civilian passenger were injured in the accident. Deputy McRee had served with the agency for 3 years. He was survived by his wife, daughter, and son.

Deputy Sheriff John O. Yount
Catawba County Sheriff's Office, North Carolina
End of Watch: Sunday, October 1, 1967
Biographical Info
Age: 56
Tour of Duty: 10 years
Incident Details
Cause of Death:
Heart attack
Date of Incident: Sunday, October 1, 1967
Deputy John Yount suffered a fatal heart attack shortly after he and another deputy were assaulted while attempting to arrest a suspect. The suspect attacked them as they attempted to handcuff him, and a struggle ensued. After finally subduing the suspect, Deputy Yount sat in the back of the patrol car with the man but suddenly collapsed. He was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. Deputy Yount had served with the agency for 10 years. He was survived by his wife.

Lieutenant Ted Cephus Elmore
Catawba County Sheriff's Office, North Carolina
End of Watch: Wednesday, April 27, 1983
Biographical Info
Age: 51
Tour of Duty: 12 years
Incident Details
Cause of Death:
Date of Incident: Thursday, November 11, 1971
Weapon Used: Gun; Unknown type
Suspect Info: Apprehended
Lieutenant Ted Elmore succumbed to wounds sustained 11 years earlier when he was shot while making a traffic stop on Highway 64-70. Unbeknownst to Lieutenant Elmore, he had stopped two suspects that had shot and wounded an Atlanta, Georgia, police officer several weeks earlier. As he exited his patrol car the occupants of the vehicle opened fire, striking him in the right arm and disabling it. As he tried to draw his weapon with his left hand, he was shot again in the abdomen and fell to the ground. The assailants then shot him a third time, hitting him in the back, severing his spinal cord and causing paralysis. He remained paralyzed until passing away 11 years later. It was determined that his passing was a direct result of his wounds. One of the shooters was apprehended after the incident; however, the second shooter remained at large until being arrested in 2005. Lieutenant Elmore had served with the Catawba County Sheriff's Office for 12 years. He is survived by his wife and child.

Deputy Dennis Wayne Dixon
Catawba County Sheriff's Office, North Carolina
End of Watch: Monday, August 16, 2021
Biographical Info
Age: 63
Tour of Duty: 34 years total
Incident Details
Cause of Death:
Date of Incident: Monday, August 16, 2021
Deputy Dennis Dixon contracted COVID-19 during the commission of his job duties as a Child Support Enforcement Officer. Deputy Dixon succumbed to complications of COVID-19 on August 16, 2021. Deputy Dixon had served with the agency for 21 years 10 months as a part time reserve officer and 12 years 8 months as full time. He is survived by his wife, two sons and four grandchildren.

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