BELL COUNTY, Texas (FOX 44) – Officers killed in the line of duty within the Bell County Sheriff’s Department are being remembered permanently with an Honors Chair.
The chairs represent a place they will always have within the department.
Saving a Hero’s Place Founder Tommy Capell says the mission started in 2013 after Officer Sean Collier was killed sitting in his patrol car during the Boston Marathon bombings.
Capell knew he had to do something – so he built a chair to present to Collier’s family. Almost a decade later, he is still building chairs honoring fallen first responders across the country.
“Gone, but not forgotten” is the reason these Honors Chairs have a permanent place inside the Bell County Sheriff’s Department.
“Sitting in the back of the room watching them unveil these chairs was heartbreaking for me,” says Bell County Operations Bureau Captain Robert McClinton. “I knew some of these deputies. It was personal. I am very proud to say I was a part of being able to watch this presented to our department. To be able to honor these from now on.”
McClinton says within a month, or even years of a person’s death, their memory can fade. These Honors Chairs are a way to symbolize those who have sacrificed, and ultimately given their lives.
“When I graduated the academy, my classmate was killed in the line of duty two months after we graduated,” Capell says. “There is not a lot that’s done, at that time, for the officers. You go to work the next day, there is no time off. There is just not a lot done for the officers that knew them – that worked with them. So we wanted to come up with something that says he or she will not be forgotten.”
Capell says the non-profit organization has grown, and departments reach out to them for a custom chair. It only takes a few days to complete the Honors Chairs after engraving, sanding and painting.
“We hope that new officers come in, and they see the chair, and they ask, ‘Who was this? Who were they?,'” Capell says. “And they look it up and find out, so that the name never gets forgotten.”
“These chairs not only represent the officers that you see as a name, but they represent every law enforcement officer who have lost their lives in the line of duty,” McClinton said.
To donate to the organization or request a personalized chair, you can go here.