Honoring Officers Killed in the Line of Duty - WSET.com - ABC13

Honoring Officers Killed in the Line of Duty

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The wreath laying ceremony to honor Jason Saunders is Thursday in front of the Campbell County Sheriff's Office.

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Campbell Co., VA - President Obama declared Wednesday Peace Officers Memorial Day to recognize fallen officials all over the nation. Over the years, a total of 486 officers have lost their lives in the line of duty in Virginia, including 53 in our viewing area. Seven of them died in just the last 20 years.

The memorial for Deputy Jason Saunders in Campbell County is a spot of love and care. Jason died six years ago a few weeks after turning 24.

His mother and fellow friend Sheriff Steve Hutcherson were there Wednesday preparing for a wreath laying ceremony on Thursday.

"I just feel so alone without him," said Peggy Saunders, Jason Saunders' mom. "There is an emptiness that will never be filled again."

"You prepare for the worst but hope and pray for the best," said Sheriff Hutcherson. "For me, Jason was a part of who I am."

"Cause I had made the remark to him that, ‘Ok buddy, you make it one more year and your insurance comes down. I won't ever forget that. He didn't make it. He was 24 in February and died the third of April," said Peggy Saunders.

He was in a high speed chase, lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a tree.

He is one of seven killed on the job in the last two decades: Virginia Tech Police Officer Deriek Crouse, Danville Police Officer Courtney Dickerson, Investigator Terry Barker, Senior and Deputy Sheriff Frankie Betterton from Pittsylvania County, and Officers Scott Hylton and Terry Griffith from Christiansburg.

"For any parent out there who has ever lost a child I know they understand; there is an emptiness that will never be filled again," said Peggy Saunders. "He was an outstanding citizen.

Support helps Peggy Saunders lessen the pain. Flags were lowered to half staff at sunrise Wednesday.

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