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2023 FSA Memorial Honors the Fallen

May 30, 2023

During its annual memorial ceremony, the Florida Sheriffs Association honored the fallen heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty while serving their communities. This year, eight names were added to the FSA Memorial Wall during the ceremony in Tallahassee. 

FSA President and Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis joined sheriffs, community leaders and the families of the fallen heroes who gathered to remember and celebrate their bravery and sacrifice.

2023 FSA Memorial 

At this year’s ceremony, Sheriff Nienhuis reflected on what the wall means to the loved ones of a fallen hero. “When a member of law enforcement joins an agency, they join a family and a united front,” he said. “Today, we stand as one big family together in mourning to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Eight heroes were honored at the 2023 FSA Memorial ceremony:  

Miami-Dade Police Department Officer Cesar “Echy” Echaverry | End of Watch: August 17, 2022  
Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Michael Hartwick | End of Watch: September 22, 2022  
Polk County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Blane Lane | End of Watch: October 4, 2022  
Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Christopher Taylor | End of Watch: November 22, 2022  
Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office Corporal Ray Hamilton | End of Watch: December 24, 2022  
Marion County Sheriff’s Office Deputy James George Binnicker | End of Watch: September 29, 1893  
Sumter County Sheriff’s Office Detention Officer Michael P. Taylor | End of Watch: August 16, 2021  
Sumter County Sheriff’s Office Detention Officer William J. Prevatt | End of Watch: September 2, 2021  

Each individual’s name was added to the wall where it will represent bravery, strength and the ultimate sacrifice. “We will forever remember these officers as bold and heroic public servants who put their lives on the line for the safety of others,” said Sheriff Nienhuis. “As we reflect on their legacy, we find comfort in John 15:13 ‘Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.’”

History of the Memorial

The granite Memorial Wall honors sheriff’s officers who have fallen in the line of duty. It is a tribute to remember the sheriffs and deputies who have dedicated their lives to serve and protect Floridians, while respecting those who have passed.  

Twenty years ago, in 2002, the late Buddy Phillips, who was executive director of the Florida Sheriffs Association at the time, had a vision for a permanent memorial wall honoring the names of fallen sheriff’s deputies in Florida.

But it almost didn’t happen. Because FSA has a set operating budget that goes directly to programs that enhance law enforcement in all counties throughout the state, any special projects, such as the Law Enforcement Memorial, must be funded separately. 

FSA members stepped up with significant contributions, but a year into the project, Phillips announced that the association was $100,000 short of what was needed. More than 11,000 member individuals, families and businesses dug deeper, bridged the gap and made the FSA Law Enforcement Memorial a reality. 

On the wall is an engraved verse that embraces these fallen heroes and the sacrifices they have made: “Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God.” -Matthew 5:9.

The memorial is dedicated to remembering those who sacrificed all and to those who put their lives on the line every day. Families and friends came out to pay tribute to their loved ones while seeing their engraved names on the Memorial Wall. The annual ceremony is traditionally held on the last Monday in April.  

Support FSA’s Mission

With your donation to our educational and cooperative programs, you help the Florida Sheriffs Association provide training, technical expertise and assistance to sheriffs’ offices throughout the state, including the FSA Law Enforcement Memorial. 

Your donation can be earmarked for a particular program created to meet specific needs in our state – or you can simply designate it to go wherever it’s needed the most. Click here to make a one-time donation today.