As you all may know, we have been cleaning and refurbishing the memorial monuments of the fallen DPS Sergeants and Officers. As we have completed a monument, we have sent an email to Colonel Milstead, thanking him for his and the Department’s support in this endeavor. In the various emails, we specifically thank him for allowing on-duty participation of DPS employees and provide with the names of everyone involved. During the last couple of weeks, many members of the Coalition of DPS Retirees, Retirees from DPS, and various law enforcement agencies have contributed in the monument cleanup and refurbishing. We cannot thank everyone involved enough in honoring our fallen heroes!
The following is the latest letter sent to Colonel Milstead and his response to the efforts put forth by many individuals.
Good Morning Director Milstead:
This past week Fallen Officer Memorials around the state have been cleaned up and refurbished by active Troopers, families and retired Officers of the Arizona Department of Public Safety. Additionally, 4 on duty Winslow Police Officers assisted on the Memorial for Navajo County Deputy Bob Varner (a retired AZDPS Officer). I know your time is at a premium, so I will provide only a few photos for you to view and a list of those attending. All the photos can be viewed at the website: https://fallenheromemorialride.org when you have time.
Sgt. David Zesiger’s Memorial was visited on Sat. June 8, and found by retired Lt. Jack Grant Grant #1445 to be in excellent condition, requiring no refurbishing. This memorial is located on St. Rt. 260, approximately 12 miles east of the Hondah Casino.
Officer Mack Merrill’s memorial was refurbished on June 3 in the I-10 WB Texas Canyon Rest area east of Benson by retirees: Lt. Jim Russell #234, Sgts. J.R. Ham, #142, Tom Leslie #186, Jack Cooke #526, Danny Ham #576, Vince Fero #2474, Ofcs. Herman Flores #228, John Pintek #619, and Troopers Martin Tapia #4015, Chris Drummond #4231, Dean Chase #5664 and Tim Wiedeman #6414.
Officer Bruce Petersen’s memorial was refurbished on June 7, 2019 by retired Lt. Jack Grant #1445 and his wife JoAnn. This memorial is located on St. Rt. 61 in front of the school in Concho, AZ.
Officer Paul Marston’s Memorial was refurbished on June 9, 2019, the 50th anniversary of his death, by his family, led by his son, retired Officer Brian Marston #4324 and his family, retired Assistant Director David Felix #900, and his wife Sharon Knutson Felix, surviving spouse of fallen Officer Doug Knutson #3818, Retired Major Ron Mayes #225, Retirees Sgt. Robbie Milam#3950, Angel Trujillo #4734, Leon Dame #5012, Anne Stuckey, and active Captain John Seeley #5208 This memorial is located at the Prescott District 12 Office.
Officer Bob Varner #438(retired 1987) and a Navajo Co. Deputy when killed in the line of duty, his memorial was refurbished on June 9, 2019 by his wife, Cathy Varner, son in law Michael Rivera and grandson Michael Jr, several family friends, Trooper J.K. Curnutte #6600, Winslow Police Officers A. Barron #137, C. Benoit #141, R. Blass #151 and C. Stalter #152, DPS retirees: Lt. Jack Grant #1445 and his wife JoAnn, Sgt. Colin Peabody #481, Sgt. Rick Miller #744(one of the original committee members on this project in the early 1990s), Ofcs., Charlie Cleveland #465, Don Williams #1096, Dennis McNulty #1959, and Ofc/Paramedic Don Uhles #2092. This memorial is located in Winslow at MP. 253 on I-40 and North Park Drive.
Officers Jim Keeton’s and Don Beckstead’s memorials were refurbished on June 10, 2019 by DPS Major John Philpot #4808, Sgt. Gary Bujdos #5356, Trooper Hank Roanhorse #5985, retirees Sgts. Colin Peabody #481 and Rick Miller #744 and Ofcs Don Williams #1096, Dennis McNulty #1959 and Ofc/Paramedic Don Uhles #2092. Those memorials are located 6 miles apart on I-40 near the AZ/NM state line.
There are three remaining memorials that will be refurbished within the next couple of weeks, Officer Gib Duthie #143, Officer Bob Martin #475, both located on St. Rt. 87 between Fountain Hills and Sunflower, and Officer Brett Buckmister #5548, whose memorial is located south of Page off St. Rt. 89 on National Park Service land.
We want to continue our thanks to you for your support of this effort in allowing on duty personnel to participate as both site protection while we worked and as members of the refurbishing crew.
Colin Peabody #481 Sgt. (ret.),
Fallen Hero Committee member
Chairman, Coalition of DPS Retirees, Inc.
Holy Cow! This work is amazing and the respect paid to our fallen is second to none. When all the work is completed, I would like to publish a comprehensive list of those involved and a number of the photos documenting the work completed. I will have our Public Affairs staff determine how this is best done. Thank you all for this amazing outpouring of support to our fallen hero’s.