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Florida Sheriffs Association Honors Fallen Deputies at Memorial Ceremony

April 24, 2017

Today, the Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA) honored all of the fallen deputies and officers who served the law, and state of Florida, in the line of duty. This year, six names were added to the FSA Memorial Wall during the ceremony. FSA President and keynote speaker Sheriff Jerry Demings of Orange County joined sheriffs at the FSA Memorial Wall to celebrate the men and women who lost their lives while serving their communities. A K-9 statue was very recently added and is a wonderful addition to honor K-9 officers who bravely served the citizens of Florida.

The Presentation of the Flaf at the 2017 FSA Memorial Ceremony

The memorial is dedicated to remembering those who sacrificed and put their lives on the line every day. Families, friends and brothers-in-arms came out to pay their tributes to their loved ones while seeing their names engraved on the Memorial Wall.

“The sacrifices these men and women made go beyond what most people would ever do,” said FSA President and Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings. “Losses like these are not easy, but I’m honored to have served alongside these heroes who gave all.”

This afternoon, six names were honored at the FSA Memorial ceremony:

  • Nassau County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Sheriff Eric James Oliver| End of Watch: Tuesday, November 22, 2016| Cause of Death: Struck by vehicle
  • Taylor County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Sheriff Michael Scott Williams| End of Watch: Monday, October 31, 2016 | Cause of Death: Automobile accident
  • Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Sheriff John Robert Kotfila, Jr. | End of Watch: Saturday, March 12, 2016 | Cause of Death: Vehicular assault
  • Alachua County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Sheriff William A. May | End of Watch: Sunday, April 22, 1934 | Cause of Death: Gunfire
  • Alachua County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Sheriff Cornelius “Neal” Rain | End of Watch: Thursday, February 21, 1918 | Cause of Death: Gunfire
  • DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Sheriff John Henry Wiggins | End of Watch: Saturday, November 25, 1916 | Cause of Death: Gunfire

Hundreds attended to pay their respects to those who lost their lives while serving their communities. A moment of silence followed as a rider-less horse was led across the memorial.

Established in 2002, the Florida Sheriffs Association incorporated the granite Memorial Wall to honor sheriff’s officers who had 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. On the wall is an engraved verse that embraces these fallen heroes and the sacrifices they have made: “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friend.” John 15:13.

Find more information on the FSA website memorial page.

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The Florida Sheriffs Association is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 corporation made up of Florida’s Sheriffs, approximately 3,500 business leaders and 70,000 citizens throughout the state. Founded in 1893, FSA has steadfastly served the citizens of Florida by supporting the needs of the state's law-enforcement community. Through the Florida Sheriffs Association, Sheriffs are given a forum to address lawmakers to push for positive changes in Florida’s public safety arena. FSA also provides Sheriffs' Offices much-needed programs such as affordable training, special task forces and legislative and legal services. Dedicated to the prevention of juvenile delinquency and the development of lawful, productive citizens, FSA both established and continues to fund the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches with facilities throughout the state to help restore hope, fulfill dreams, and prepare boys and girls for the future. The Florida Sheriffs Association has grown to be one of the largest and most successful state law enforcement associations in the nation. For more information on the Florida Sheriffs Association, visit