Fallen Walton, Okaloosa officers honored at memorial service in Niceville

 NICEVILLE, Fla. (WMBB) — Law enforcement from across the region gathered at Northwest Florida State College Wednesday for Peace Officers Memorial Day. A memorial candle lit service on campus honored law enforcement officers killed in action from both Okaloosa and Walton counties. “They left behind grieving families, friends, and a community that relied on them […] [[{“value”:”

NICEVILLE, Fla. (WMBB) — Law enforcement from across the region gathered at Northwest Florida State College Wednesday for Peace Officers Memorial Day. 

A memorial candle lit service on campus honored law enforcement officers killed in action from both Okaloosa and Walton counties.

“They left behind grieving families, friends, and a community that relied on them to help keep them safe. They laid it all down for a calling that beckoned them to answer. Today, we honor them for a job well done,” said Aaron Murray, NWFSC police chief.

Family, friends, and colleagues of the fallen read their names and shared their stories. 

“Ray was then publicized as the first deputy who was killed in the line of duty on Christmas Eve. News spread from Pensacola to the New York Post to the United Kingdom and Italy,” said Renee Hamilton, widow of OCSO deputy Ray Hamilton. “Yet all I heard was because of Ray’s sacrifice, 24 of his brothers were able to be home Christmas Day with their families, all because Ray answered the call.” 

“I had a huge competition coming up, and he saw that I was nervous and struggling with the big day coming up. And he made me practice this song ‘as the deer’ every day in the kitchen when he was cooking dinner until he thought he was perfect and until he knew I was ready,” shared Ryan Neau, daughter of OCSO deputy Michael Neau.

Those in the crowd lighting candles for the names they connected with.  

“I had the pleasure of talking to him that evening. He called me and we talked and I’ll never forget it. That was very precious,” said Charlene Forgione, mother of OCSO deputy Tony Forgione. “But he will be remembered for his laugh and joyfulness and being a good brother and being with his other brothers.” 

The event honored 13 men:

Sheriff John Monroe Summerlin, OCSO – EOW Jan. 21, 1921

Deputy Sheriff Thomas G. Blount, WCSO- EOW Aug. 17, 1929

Sheriff Daniel Clayton Adkinson, WCSO- EOW Apr. 7, 1938

Sheriff Robert E. Gatlin, WCSO- EOW Nov. 12, 1942

Sergeant Buster Glenn Adams, Crestview PD- EOW Mar. 26, 1974

Officer Kenneth Stanley Baldwin, Okaloosa County Airport PD- EOW Sept. 11, 1987

Ray Lynn Barnes, FWC- EOW Nov. 21, 1987

Deputy Sheriff Anthony E. Forgione, OCSO- EOW Jul. 22, 2008

Deputy Sheriff Burton ‘Burt’ Lopez, OCSO- EOW April 25, 2009

Deputy Sheriff Warren Keith ‘Skip’ York, OCSO- EOW Apr. 25, 2009

Deputy Sheriff William J. Myers, OCSO- EOW Sept. 22, 2015

Deputy Sheriff Michael David Neau, OCSO- EOW Sept. 5, 2021

Corporal Ray Hamilton, OCSO- EOW Dec. 24, 2022

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