SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. - Sumter County Sheriff’s Office and Sumter City Police Department hosted a prayer breakfast at Mount Zion Baptist Church Sumter, S.C., May 15, in recognition of National Police Week.
“We are here to celebrate and remember those who have served us and paid the ultimate price,” said Thomas R. Mims, an investigator with the SCSO.
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy designated May 15 as National Police Officer Memorial Day, which paid special recognition to law enforcement officers who had fallen in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others. The observance evolved into a weeklong event celebrated annually as National Police Week.
During the breakfast Lt. Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, Third Army/ARCENT commanding general, spoke about what makes a hero.
“It is their duty that drives them. Heroes are those who do their duty without fanfare, sometimes without reward, without acknowledgment or recognition,” said Brooks. “It’s that calling that they respond to on a day-to-day basis that really, truly makes them a hero.”
Many of the law enforcement officers and community members in attendance knew the fallen officers personally and carry the memory of those heroes with them.
“He didn’t want to go in the Air Force, it was too dangerous,” Peggy Kubala said of her son, Sgt. Charles Kubala Sr., one of the fallen officers who were honored.
Sgt. Kubala was killed in the line of duty while serving with the SCSO in 1996. Sumter held its first Police Week ceremony in 1997 and Peggy Kubala and her husband, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Fred Kubala, have been in attendance every year.
Fred Kubala remembers his son fondly and said the prayer breakfast means a lot to him as he honors his son and the other fallen officers.
“These are the heroes that we know and we recognize and call by name,” Brooks continued. “While the number may be small, the impact is large.”
The service concluded with policeman’s prayer and a reading of the names of Sumter’s five fallen officers.