Running for a purpose: Police hold Memorial Run to honor fallen officers
A sea of neon yellow shirts jogged south on Centennial Avenue Monday morning.
Roughly 50 officers and residents ran from Morehead Recreation Center to the intersection of Centennial and Russell Street in memory of the five officers who have fallen in the line of duty.
High Point Police had their sixth annual Memorial Run to Remember Monday, which kicked off with a run and a Subway lunch afterwards. Officer Latoya Jackson, who coordinated the event, said the High Point Police Department does the run for unity and to remember those who have given their life for others.
“We have had five officers have that have fallen and died in the line of duty in the past,” Jackson said. “We wouldn’t be where we are without learning from these people who have given their lives and made the ultimate sacrifice. We can learn from their experiences. If we don’t take the time to thank them and memorialize them, than they would be forgotten. You don’t want something so significant to be forgotten.”
According to Jackson, the run itself took about 24 minutes. After the run, the participants sat down to fellowship with each other for lunch. Police Chief Marty Sumner thanked those who ran and provided sponsorship at the lunch.
“This is a great way to remember the officers who worked here and made the ultimate sacrifice,” Sumner said. “I know Shelia is honored and very pleased that we do this every year in her memory.”
Capt. Tim Ellenberger agrees with Sumner.
“I think we all run for the same reasons, to remember those officers that gave the ultimate sacrifice,” Ellenberger said. “I think (Shelia) she would be honored right now to know that this many people showed up to run.”
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High Point’s fallen officers
• Officer James W. Witcher died Sept. 15, 1913. The 34-year-old father of six was shot while responding to a fight outside a theater. The shooter was never found.
• Officer Carey James Reaves died June 10, 1925. The officer died following a shoot out at a suspected illegal gambling and liquor house on June 9, 1925. John Whitener was convicted of two counts of murder but escaped the death penalty when he accepted a 50-year prison sentence while awaiting a new trial.
• Officer Fred G. Claywell died June 18, 1925, from injuries in the same shoot out that killed Reaves.
• Capt. Allen Jerome Morris died Sept. 16, 1928. Morris, 62, arrested Garland Shipwash for public drunkenness at a restaurant. While in custody, Shipwash attempted to break free and struck Morris in the stomach with his knee. The officer was dead by the time a doctor arrived. Heart problems apparently contributed to his death.
• Master Police Officer III Shelia Dianne Twyman died Dec. 23, 2001. Twyman, 47, was on routine patrol when her police cruiser collided with a tractor-trailer at the intersection of E. Russell Avenue and S. Centennial Street. She died from her injuries three days after the accident.