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Post office, highway officially renamed for fallen officers

The families of three Brookhaven and Lincoln County law enforcement officers were present Monday as a government building and section of highway were renamed for their fallen heroes.

U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, of Brookhaven, U.S. Rep. Michael Guest and MS Rep. Becky Currie, of Brookhaven, spoke to the capacity crowd at Mary Jane Lampton Auditorium in Brookhaven, where the official presentations were made.

The post office building on West Cherokee Street in Brookhaven has been renamed to “The Deputy Donald William Durr, Corporal Zach Moak and Patrolman James White Memorial Post Office Building.”

The section of Hwy. 51 that runs in front of the Brookhaven Police Department has been named the “Corporal Zach Moak and Officer James White Memorial Highway,” from Brookway Boulevard south to Natchez Avenue.

“Today we’re going to honor some very special people (who) gave their lives to insure we had a safe community, to protect their families, to protect all of us,” Sen. Hyde-Smith said. “Thank you to the families for allowing your family members to participate in the careers they wanted to participate in. We are the beneficiaries of this.”

Rep. Guest, formerly a district attorney in Rankin County who worked with law enforcement daily for close to 25 years, mentioned the promise all officers make when they choose to put on a badge — “a creed to serve and protect.”

“Scripture says, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.’ The peacemakers we honor today were law enforcement officers, fathers, brothers, uncles, cousins and sons,” Guest said. “Their sacrifice must not be forgotten. Their valiant deeds must not be forgotten. Their love of their fellow officers and their love of their community must live on. From this day forward, this post office will serve as a reminder of their service to their fellowman.”

Rep. Currie stressed that the dedications were not about the people making them, but about the ones being honored.

“This is about them and this is about their families,” she said.

She shared stories told to her by the families of each officer — stories of care and heroism.

“They were people. They are not just names. They were people who are not coming home,” Currie said.

“I believe James and Zach knew what life was about,” said educator Diane Croutwell, who taught both Moak and White at Enterprise Attendance Center. “And they knew where they were going. I believe they are proud of you, their families. I thank God for Zach and James and the lessons they have taught me.”

A plaque with the post office’s new name will be affixed to the building’s façade. Signs have already been erected at both ends of the marked highway by Mississippi Department of Transportation.