Franklin Stone and Robert Woodall’s names were among those intoned Saturday night at a ceremony to unveil Lorain County’s new Law Enforcement and Fire/EMS Service Memorial in Elyria.
An Oberlin constable, Stone was shot during a foot pursuit in May 1881 and eventually succumbed to his injuries. His story was long forgotten, unearthed by local historians this past year.
Woodall, a city patrolman, was killed in March 1971 when his cruiser slid off an icy road and into a tree on East Hamilton Street.
The two tragedies — separated by 90 years — will be mourned each spring when police gather to honor their fallen comrades.
The Lorain County Police Memorial ceremony has traditionally rotated among departments but now has a permanent home at the seven-foot-tall stone marker on 3rd Street in downtown Elyria. The annual event will be held there starting in 2019.
Nineteen local officers have lost their lives in the line of duty down through the decades, as have two firefighters from our county: Elyria’s Earl Shelton in 1982 and Wellington’s Allan “Buz” Anderson Jr. in 2006, according to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.
“When I am called to duty, God, whenever flames may rage, give me the strength to save some life whatever be its age,” a fire and EMS inscription reads on the polished stone. “Help me to embrace a little child before it’s too late or some older person from the horror of that fate.”
A “Parade of Lights” followed the memorial dedication Saturday, featuring police and fire vehicles paying tribute to those who gave all.
The pomp was part of a dedication of the Lorain County Courthouse, which has undergone $3 million in renovations.
Designed by architect Elijah Myers, the original building was constructed with Amherst sandstone. Work started in 1878 and finished three years later; the courthouse was added to the National Register of Historical Places in 1975.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.