St. Charles honors fallen officers with memorial

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 25, 2011



LULING – This year’s addition of the 29th annual Peace Officer Memorial Services in St. Charles Parish carried some extra meaning as the St. Charles Sheriff’s Office officially dedicated its Fallen Heroes Memorial.

The memorial, which is situated directly in front of the new headquarters for the Sheriff’s Office, includes a legacy walk and a collection of plaques honoring the only three members of the St. Charles Sheriff’s Office to have lost their lives in the line of duty.

“This memorial stands as a permanent reminder of all those men and women in law enforcement who have sacrificed their lives for the safety of others,” said St. Charles Sheriff Greg Champagne. “Pray that we never add another name to this memorial.”

Capt. Pat Yoes, a spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office, said the memorial was built through donations collected from the public through the Fraternal Order of Police. He said all $55,000 needed to construct the memorial were donated by family, friends, relatives and other parish residents.

“I think the community understands the sacrifices made by men and women in uniform,” Yoes said. “It is a fitting way to honor their memory.”

The memorial honors former St. Charles Sheriff Lewis Ory, who was killed in 1903, Deputy James Arterbury, who was killed in 1973, and Deputy Nelson Coleman, who died in 1982. The men are the only three members of the Sheriff’s Office to have died on the job in the department’s 100-year history.

“It is truly awesome to be in this position following in the shoes of those who came before for me and to see the family of those men and women today,” Champagne said. “We owe them a great debt of gratitude.”

The dedication was part of the Sheriff’s Office’s annual Peace Officer Memorial Service that honors those in Louisiana law enforcement killed on the job. This year’s ceremony honored six men – Officer Alfred Louis Celestain Sr. of the New Orleans Police Department, Trooper Duane Allen Dalton of State Police, Maj. Timothy Joel Bergeron of the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office, Cpl. Clovis Wayne Searcy Jr. of the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office, Sgt. Thomas Moore Alexander of the Rayville Police Department and Sgt. Timothy Clark Prunty of the Shreveport Police Department.

The ceremony included a playing of “Taps” and “Amazing Grace,” a wreath laying, and a 21-gun salute from the New Orleans Police Department Honor Guard.