Law Enforcement from all over the state of Georgia pay tribute to Sheriff Ladson O'Connor
Photography by Curtis and Norma Beaird
Article by Norma Beaird
Tribute Photo of Sheriff Ladson O'Connor by 53 Hours
Today, we witnessed the most amazing tribute and funeral procession that we have ever seen. The Law Enforcement and Emergency Responders of the State of Georgia paid tribute to Georgia's Montgomery County Sheriff, Ladson O'Connor.
The funeral was held today, June 20, 2015 at 11:00 am in Saliba Chapel on the campus of Brewton-Parker College in Mount Vernon, Georgia. Saliba Chapel was at capacity at 1,000 people. Cars and trucks were parked and lined up from the entrance to the chapel all the way out to Highway 280.
Parking lots were filled and side streets were double and triple-parked for blocks around the Brewton-Parker College campus. Family, friends and Law Enforcement were parked anywhere there was a vacant space, to include the local Dollar General and Great Wall Chinese Restaurant. We would have needed to photograph from the vantage point of a helicopter to accurately capture the number of people who attended the funeral.
All over Montgomery County, residents, churches, government agencies and businesses paid tribute to Sheriff O'Connor. Allcare Pharmacy of Mount Vernon made blue & black ribbons for residents to display. One particular resident displayed a lovely patriotic wreath surrounded by the blue & black ribbons.
This very special patriotic display in honor of Sheriff Ladson O'Connor and all Law Enforcement is at the home of retired Montgomery County Sheriff Jim Higgs.
Montgomery County citizens were seated in lawn chairs at the local Mount Vernon Inn & Suites located on Highway 280. We parked next to a couple in a truck who were originally from New Jersey, but who had made Mount Vernon their home seven years ago. As Law Enforcement officers drove by, the kind lady in the truck next to us would tell them "Thank You". Like us, they knew that there would be no way to find a seat in Saliba Chapel due to the sheer number of family, friends and Law Enforcement attending the funeral. However, we all wanted to be there to pay our respects to a man who gave his life defending the citizens of Montgomery County.
Before the funeral service, Sheriff Ladson O'Connor's casket travelled from downtown Mount Vernon in front of the Montgomery County Courthouse, then turned east on Highway 280 and travelled onto the campus of Brewton-Parker College where the funeral was held in Saliba Chapel. The North Carolina Troopers Association Caisson Unit was photographed by Kathy Bradford, Associate Editor of The Advance Newspaper in Vidalia, Georgia as they were preparing for Sheriff O'Connor's funeral.
Photograph by Kathy Bradford, Associate Editor, The Advance - Vidalia, Georgia
After the funeral service, a very, very long procession began with Law Enforcement from all over the state of Georgia. Words cannot express this most beautiful expression of admiration and respect for our local sheriff. The funeral procession after the funeral service lasted close to an hour.
We talked to a sweet lady who brought her little boy to watch the funeral procession. Her husband drove in the procession, representing the Wheeler County Sheriff's Department. We all stood there together as cars, motorcycles and SUV's of sheriff and police departments passed by. We watched as state rangers, ambulances, fire trucks and even a prison van participated in the funeral procession.
Wheeler County Sheriff's Department
We parked behind the Chinese Restaurant and attempted to photograph the many, many Sheriff and Police cars from all over the state of Georgia. We probably missed a few due to the enormity of the funeral procession, but what we didn't miss was the love, respect and admiration that the community and people from all over the state of Georgia had for Sheriff Ladson O'Connor.
We first became acquainted with Sheriff Ladson O'Connor when, on our quiet little Mayberry-like street down from Ailey Baptist Church, we began to have problems with drug dealers parking near a tree-lined pond. Consequently, this is not an area where you would think that drugs would be a problem. Our street is off of Highway 280; and unfortunately, it became a convenient stopping point for drug trafficking. Before Sheriff O'Connor took office, our house had been burglarized in 2012. This event forced us to recognize that we had a bad problem in this area.
We had spoken with Sheriff O'Connor about the problem on our street down at the pond, and within a few days, a lot of the traffic and drug dealing abruptly stopped. He always told us, "If you need us, just call." He was a man of his word. On two different occasions we called him, once with a license plate number, and he always responded. Since Sheriff O'Connor has been in office, he has made many arrests and has taken down many meth labs. We were grateful to know a man who was proactive about the crime problem in our county.
The next sheriff will certainly have big shoes to fill.
We hope that we can convey the experience that we had this morning. The photos below show just how much representation came from all over the state. Thank you to each and every member of law enforcement for your service and dedication to keeping the people of Georgia safe. May God richly bless you.
The following Georgia cities, towns and counties of Law Enforcement and Emergency Responders were represented in the funeral procession after the funeral service at 11:00 a.m. Some counties brought two or three vehicles. This doesn't include the unmarked vehicles. Plus, due to the fact that the procession was almost an hour long and there were so many vehicles, we may have missed a few. Hopefully, we have included everyone.
***Denotes out of state
Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department
Mount Vernon Police Department
Vidalia Police Department
Toombs County Sheriff’s Department
City of Lyons Police Department
Soperton Police Department
Treutlen County Sheriff’s Department
Jacksonville Police Department
Wheeler County Sheriff’s Department
Telfair County Sheriff’s Department
Lumber City Police Department
Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department
Eastman Police Department
Dublin Police Department
East Dublin Police Department
Oak Park Police Department
Graham Police Department
Hazlehurst Police Department
Jeff Davis County Sheriff’s Department
Tattnall County Sheriff’s Department
Evans County Sheriff’s Department
Candler County Sheriff’s Department
Metter Police Department
Bulloch County Sheriff’s Department
Liberty County Sheriff’s Department
Long County Sheriff’s Department
Bloomingdale Police Department
Chatham County Sheriff’s Department
Effingham County Sheriff’s Department
Garden City Police Department
Port Wentworth Police Department
Rincon Police Department
Jesup Police Department
Waycross Police Department
Glynn County Police Department
McIntosh County Sheriff’s Department
Bibb County Sheriff’s Department
Houston County Sheriff’s Department
Peach County Sheriff’s Department
Monroe County Sheriff’s Department
Twiggs County Sheriff’s Department
Coffee County Sheriff’s Department
Cook County Sheriff’s Department
Lee County Sheriff’s Department
Tift County Sheriff’s Department
Columbus State University Police Department
Hall County Sheriff’s Department
Henry County Sheriff’s Department
Henry County Police (Governor’s Office of Highway Safety)
Decatur Police Department
Newton County Sheriff’s Department
Morgan County Sheriff’s Department
Walton County Sheriff’s Department
Holly Springs Police Department
Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department
Whitfield County Sheriff’s Department
Habersham County Sheriff’s Department
Burke County Sheriff’s Department
Richmond County Sheriff’s Department
Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department
***North Carolina Troopers Association Caisson Unit
Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI)
Georgia State Patrol
Georgia State Ranger
Georgia Department of Corrections Field Supervision Team
Higgston Fire Department
Medixx Ambulance - Vidalia
Central EMS - Roswell
Sheriff Ladson O'Connor
Served as Sheriff of Montgomery County
Elected in 2012 and served 2013 - 2015
Bulloch County Sheriff's Department (front)
Henry County Police Department (back)
Montgomery County Sheriff's K-9 Unit
This vehicle is an example of the positive impact that Sheriff O'Connor made on the Sheriff's Department
Montgomery County, Georgia Sheriff's Department
Mount Vernon Police Department (Montgomery County)
Toombs County Sheriff's Department
Vidalia Police Department (Toombs County)
Georgia State Patrol
City of Lyons Police Department (Toombs County)
Monroe County Sheriff's Department
Monroe County Sheriff's K-9 Unit
Dublin Police Department (Laurens County)
Cherokee County Marshal
Cherokee County Sheriff's Department
Twiggs County Sheriff's Department
Port Wentworth Police Department (Chatham County)
Columbus State University Police - Columbus, Georgia (Muscogee County)
Henry County Sheriff's Department
Higgston Fire Department (Montgomery County)
Metter Police Department (Candler County)
Treutlen County Sheriff's Department
Peach County Sheriff's Department
Central EMS - Roswell, Georgia (Fulton County)
City of Oak Park Police Department (Emanuel County)
Holly Springs Police Department (Cherokee County)
Decatur Police Department (Dekalb County)
Jesup, Georgia Police Department (Wayne County)
Georgia State Ranger
Liberty County Sheriff's K-9 Unit
Graham Police Department K-9 Unit (Appling County)
Bibb County Sheriff's Department
Georgia Department of Corrections Field Supervision Team
Effingham County Sheriff's Department
Long County Sheriff's Department
Rincon Police Department (Effingham County)
Garden City Police Department (Chatham County)
Tattnall County Sheriff's Department
Hall County Sheriff's Department
McIntosh County Sheriff's Department
Waycross Police Department (Ware County)
Jacksonville, Georgia Sheriff's Department
Newton County Sheriff's Department
East Dublin Police Department (Laurens County)
Evans County Police Department
Habersham County Sheriff's Department
Eastman Police Department (Dodge County)
Candler County Sheriff's Department
We have received very thoughtful comments and really appreciate everyone sharing their heart. This has deeply affected Curtis and me. We want everyone to know that if you have other names of sheriff or police departments who participated, or other state agencies, we will gladly add them to the list. If anyone has pictures of the North Carolina Troopers Caisson Unit, we will be more than happy to post your pictures and give you full credit for the picture. From the comment section, we've learned that a Deputy Sheriff came from Mississippi. If anyone has further info, please let us know. Please send names or pictures to editor(at)lkjournal(dot)com - Thank you.
Late tonight on June 20th, as we were driving down Highway 280, we passed by Brewton-Parker College and saw the college arch bathed in fluorescent spotlights, bringing attention to the blue & black ribbons in honor of Sheriff O'Connor. This dramatic scene reminded me, that even though the night seems forever and sorrow burdens the heart, that God will shine a light in the midst of darkness.
Curtis and I went back the house to get the camera so that we could share a beautiful memory. Sheriff O'Connor also shined a light in the darkness and Montgomery County will be forever indebted to him and his willingness to rise above the evils of this world.
Brewton-Parker College Arch
After we photographed the Brewton-Parker arch, we drove through downtown Mount Vernon and saw the white satin wreath with the blue & black ribbon on display under a light at City Hall. Again, another reminder of light shining in the darkness.
Mount Vernon, Georgia City Hall
Our Sheriff and Police Departments, State Troopers, Fire Departments, Paramedics and all emergency responders put their lives on the line every day to help and protect the citizens of Georgia. This was a huge reminder of that fact.
Today, I also remembered my grandfather, Daniel Floyd Hall, who was a fireman on the Augusta Fire Department for 25 years. Thank you again, Papa. I also want to thank my cousins who served on the Richmond County Sheriff's Department and another who retired from the FBI. I thank my friends and neighbors who served on the Augusta Police Department, the Augusta Fire Department and who served as Private Investigators.
If you're an emergency responder, no matter the city, town or state, we say...
Our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Sheriff Ladson O'Connor, Mayor Joey Fountain, the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department and the citizens of Montgomery County. Sheriff O'Connor leaves behind a wife and four children. Please help us pray for them, that God will give them peace in this time of great sadness and grief.
1 Thessalonians 4: 13 - 18
(King James Version)
13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep,that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
Copyright 2015, Curtis and Norma Beaird. All rights reserved.