Monument honors law enforcement officers
By Stephanie Taylor Ferriell, Senior Staff Writer, [email protected]
They put their lives on the line each day to defend and protect the citizens they serve. Honoring these local heroes, members of the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department, was the idea behind a monument erected last winter in front of the Crawford County Judicial Complex in English.
The Public Safety and Sheriff’s Memorial was a project spearheaded by the Crawford County Chamber of Commerce and the sheriff’s department.
Dubois Rural Electric Cooperative provided seed money with a grant through its Operation Roundup. Duke Energy came on board with a gold level sponsorship. Those two sources provided the bulk of the funding. There were also some individual donations and fundraisers to raise the full amount needed.
Mark Hollen at Marengo Monuments designed and built the monument, at a discount, that was installed late last year and a ceremony was to be planned for this spring. However, those plans were derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sheriff Jeff Howell said the monument fills a spot that could once be described as bare and an eyesore.
The monument is engraved “Crawford County Sheriff Memorial” and the back contains the names of all Crawford County sheriffs who have served in that role. It is flanked by two benches in memory of two past sheriffs, Estel (Pete) Eastridge and Charlie McDaniel.
Howell said those two men stood out for special honors because McDaniel died while in office and Eastridge served in the role a total of 20 years.
“That’s unbelievable that that happened,” said Howell, referring to Eastridge’s tenure. “It will never happen again. The changes he would have seen, that’s a history book.”
Howell credited past county clerk Edna Brown with doing much of the research into past sheriffs.
“She was here a long time and knew where to find that information,” he said.
Taking a trip back in time with the research was “one of the funnest things,” said Howell, “just looking back, finding the old sheriffs.”
Howell said McDaniel is the only sheriff that research shows died while in office.
“As a department, we felt that (McDaniel and Eastridge) deserved honor,” he said. “We’ve had many good sheriffs, but they were special.”
Howell said Hollen “did a wonderful job” with his design and engraving work.
The monument will be enhanced in the future, said Howell.
Paving stones will be placed around the base, tying all the elements together.
“That will make it look more attractive,” said Howell.
Current and former law enforcement officers will have the opportunity to have a paver with their information engraved on it.
“I think that will be a nice touch,” said Howell.