For many in McCracken County, the memory of McCracken County Sheriff's Deputy Chad Shaw will be forever carried in their hearts.
Next week, when the nation unveils 286 new names on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C., Shaw will be among them.
Twelve sworn and civilian employees with the McCracken County Sheriff's Department and the Paducah Police Department, along with Shaw's family, will travel to the nation's capital to honor Shaw, who passed away last August.
He was on duty as a McCracken County deputy, working security for an open house at Community Christian Academy, when he started having chest pains. He died later that night at the age of 47. Sheriff Jon Hayden said it was the only on-duty deputy death in the department's recorded history.
Shaw's funeral was emotional and extremely well-attended. Afterward, the community rallied around his family. His wife, Margaret, and the couple's two daughters, Elizabeth and Rachel, were graced with officers at their home for cleanup days and were present at several fundraisers in their honor.
"I remember when Livingston County lost a deputy, and I remember thinking at that funeral how hard that had to be for their department," Hayden said. "Chad didn't die at the hands of another, but losing him was 10 times harder than I ever could have imagined. We wanted everything to be perfect. We wanted him to be honored, and to show how proud we were."
Hayden said the department worked on filling out the paperwork to submit to the National Law Enforcement Memorial shortly after Shaw's death. It was a rigorous application process, he said, and every case is thoroughly vetted.
"I certainly wanted him to be honored nationally for what he has done, not only for our department but for the community," Hayden said. "Any law enforcement officer that loses his life in the line of duty deserves that recognition. Officers make a lot of sacrifices. No one enters law enforcement for the money; their reasons are other than monetary, and generally that reason is that they want to help people. It's a noble profession."
The trip will come two days after the area's annual Peace Officer Memorial, which will take place Monday at Dolly McNutt Plaza at noon. On Wednesday morning, the 12 attendees will load up into two vehicles donated by Paducah Ford and Allen Auto Sales for the 12-hour trip to Washington. The unveiling ceremony is slated for Thursday morning. President Barack Obama was scheduled to attend, along with Attorney General Eric Holder.
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