This morning the solemn song of bagpipes echoed in the Dixon-McKenzie Dining Common Davis Room. Members of Greenville’s law enforcement, their families and community representatives gathered at the third Allen Jacobs Memorial Prayer Breakfast. The event honored Jacobs and other fallen heroes while celebrating the work done by those still among us.
Remembering Those Who are Gone
Officer Jacobs was a Bob Jones Academy alumnus and his parents, Drs. Don and Tammie Jacobs, still serve as BJU faculty. On March 18, 2016, Jacobs was the first Greenville officer killed in the line of duty in 13 years, and his death devastated the community. As a result, BJU recognized the need to honor the work of fallen and working law enforcement officials.
A year after the incident, the University hosted the first Allen Jacobs Memorial Breakfast. Multiple sponsors, including BJU and the Greenville Police Department, contributed to provide a free event for law enforcement personnel. Business and community leaders across the Upstate were invited to attend and sponsor the breakfast. Proceeds from the event were donated to the Allen Jacobs Memorial Scholarship Fund, started by the Jacobs family to aid BJU Criminal Justice students in financing their education.
Following today’s memorial table ceremony, a tradition honoring fallen officers, bagpipes played “Amazing Grace.” The usually emotional occasion held even deeper significance. Harry “Dean” Douglas, who played the bagpipes for past ceremonies, succumbed to cancer a few days after playing at last year’s ceremony. The audience joined Douglas’s wife Dena and family in silently honoring his memory.
The poignant moment inspired South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson to leave the remarks he prepared in his pocket. Instead, he spoke about losing his father in combat.
“I remember the community that came around the years after my biological father’s passing,” said Wilson. He mentioned how the stories people would tell him helped him keep the memories of his father alive. “That is why we’re here today . . . to celebrate the lives of men and women, some who paid the ultimate sacrifice, but celebrate the lives of men and women who are among us today.”
Giving Honor to Whom Honor is Due
After Scripture reading from BJU President Steve Pettit and prayer led by Greenville Police Department Chaplain Keith Kelly and retired Captain John Gardner, recognitions were given to four members of Greenville County’s law enforcement community.
- The Award of Merit was given to Officer Thomas Westhoff of the Greenville Police Department for his dedication to his job and the kindness he shows to those in need.
- Officer Kurt Sittmann, also from the Greenville Police Department, was awarded Public Safety Employee of the Year for “his heroic actions, dedication to serving, and attention to detail [that] reflect great credit upon himself, the Greenville Police Department, and the City of Greenville.”
- The Distinguished Achievement Award was given to Investigator Michael Robertson from the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office for his dedication to his agency and law enforcement, his leadership and his selfless service of the Greenville community.
- The Allen Jacobs Award of Valor, the highest honor given during the ceremony, was presented to officer Siva Morton of the Greenville Police Department. “[Morton] was nominated for this award by her peers for her quick thinking and actions in taking dangerous individuals off the streets.” Morton’s actions led to the arrest of multiple robbery suspects in possession of firearms.