In 1962, the date May 15 was designated as National Peace Officers Memorial Day, a day to honor and to remember local, state, and federal peace officers nationwide who have died or become disabled while serving others in the line of duty. It is also a time to remember those fallen officers’ families and the many sacrifices they, too, have made.
Law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice include GMC Prep School and Junior College alumnus John Thomas “Sonny” King III (HS ’59, JC ’61), a Georgia Bureau of Investigation special agent killed in 1985 while serving an arrest warrant, and Prep School alumnus William “Will” E. Robinson IV (HS ’87), a Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office deputy killed in 1995 while making a traffic stop.
The John Thomas (Sonny) King III Scholarship Fund for GMC Prep School or Junior College students was established in memory of and in honor of King. Among the scholarship’s qualification criteria in order to be awarded includes students whose parent or grandparent was a law enforcement officer in Georgia killed in the line of duty.
The William E. Robinson IV Memorial Scholarship Fund was established to honor the memory of Robinson. The scholarship is awarded to GMC Prep School students from law enforcement families. It also supports the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office C.H.A.M.P.S. Program, a drug and safety awareness program for fifth-graders. The Will Robinson Memorial Run, held for more than 20 years at the GMC-Milledgeville campus, serves as a fundraiser for the scholarship.
For the past two years, the GMC-Milledgeville campus and Preparatory School have honored our area peace officers on May 15 with a morning formation wreath-laying ceremony and a complimentary lunch provided for first responders.
In the past, we have had a fabulous turnout for the lunch that has included public safety personnel from local colleges, the city of Milledgeville, Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office, Baldwin County Fire Rescue, and other first responders. Unfortunately, this year, precautions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic have required us to cancel the lunch plans.
GMC still recognized National Peace Officers Memorial Day this year by holding a wreath-laying ceremony at the Grant Parade flag pole at the Milledgeville campus on May 15 at 8:30 a.m. This year, however, it was a social-distancing private event with a Facebook Live broadcast for others to view remotely.
Let’s come together on National Peace Officers Memorial Day virtually via live stream – and in our hearts – to remember and to honor all of the men and women in law enforcement who have made the ultimate sacrifice or suffered permanent disabilities selflessly defending their communities.