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Brookhaven fallen officers ‘stood for right’

Two Brookhaven police officers killed in the line of duty a year ago were remembered for their bravery Sunday at a memorial bench etched with the words, “Heroes live forever.”

A prayer service was held on the one-year anniversary of the men’s deaths in a shooting on North Sixth Street. About three dozen people — friends, family and co-workers of patrolman James White and Cpl. Zach Moak — gathered at the granite bench in front of the Brookhaven Police Department to honor the two officers.

“Today we gather with hurting hearts because of what could have been. We gather in their memory because not only do we love them but we love what they stood for,” said Rev. Jeff Davis of Wellman Baptist Church. “They stood for right. They stood for law and order, family and friends. They stood in between us and unrighteousness and evil in the world.”

Davis pointed to scripture that says to pray for God’s grace to change the heart of the one responsible for their deaths.

“God change their hearts that they repent and turn from their evil ways and turn to the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation for everlasting life,” he said. “Incarceration is just a physical punishment. Our hope is that they will turn from wickedness and turn to righteousness — to what is right.”

Vicki Moak broke down in tears facing the dozen or so uniformed officers who attended. She said she and many others pray for them each night and offered continued support and encouragement.

“There are more people that love and support you than hate you. We’re going to stand up for you,” she said. “You need prayers, you need anything, don’t hesitate to ask.”

White’s sister, Lisa, placed a bouquet of blue and black flowers on the bench.

The memorial bench was built and donated by Dave Pace of Brookhaven Monument Company. It was placed in the shade of an oak tree in front of the station in March.