Department of Fish and Wildlife
Memorial dedicated for Kentucky’s fallen conservation officers
FRANKFORT, Ky. –
Denver Tabor was active with the Boy Scouts, cared for
the elderly and was quick to help the less fortunate.
More than once the Kentucky
conservation officer surprised his wife, Linda, by coming home with a stranger
in need of a home-cooked meal or a hot shower.
Stacy Tabor Hardin grew to know her
father from such stories.
“Mom has told me that he was the
kind of person that if he gave a ticket sometimes people would thank him before
it was over,” she said.
Denver Tabor gave his life in 1973
trying to rescue a boy who had tumbled overboard from a boat on the Ohio River,
and is one of six Kentucky conservation officers killed in the line of duty
A new memorial honoring their
sacrifice was dedicated in Frankfort Saturday afternoon, May 17.
“To know that this will be here
forever and appreciated by future generations is so humbling,” Linda Tabor
said. “Denver would be so thankful, and proud.”
Located on the campus of the
Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, the centerpiece of the
keyhole-shaped memorial designed by Kentucky Fish and Wildlife graphic artist
Obie Williams and constructed by Searcy Monument Company of Carrollton is a
bronze statue of a saluting officer by Indiana sculptor David Kocka. Benches
placed around the statue represent the state’s nine law enforcement districts.
Images of conservation officers
Elijah Roberts, James R. Claxton, John C. Martin, Tabor, Robert C. Banker and
Douglas W. Bryant are etched on stone tablets atop stone pedestals lining
either side of a brick pathway leading to the statue.
The Kentucky Conservation Officers’
Association (KCOA) led the drive for the memorial and financed its construction
through sponsorships and other fundraising activities.
Kentucky Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Sgt. Scott Herndon chaired the group’s memorial committee and said
Saturday there are plans to establish a Kentucky Fallen Officers Memorial
“This memorial honors the six
officers who gave the ultimate sacrifice,” Herndon said, “but also the
conservation officers who worked before us and those who are going to work here
in the future.”
Saturday’s ceremony featured the
Louisville Police Pipes and Drums, a rifle salute by representatives of the
Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Honor Guard, the playing of taps by Anderson County
Middle School student Noah Medley and flag presentations to family members or
representatives of the fallen officers.
Kentucky Fish and Wildlife
conservation officers and Kentucky State Police assembled in rows, shoulder to
shoulder behind the families during the ceremony.
The six officers now forever
memorialized serve to remind the public of the dangers Kentucky conservation
officers face every day, said Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Gregory
“They make all of our lives better by protecting our fish
and wildlife resources that richen the landscape and the quality of our life in
this great Commonwealth,” he said. “This memorial should always remind us of
those who picked up the standard from their fallen comrades and carried on
“Our fish and wildlife family
recognizes the impossibility of ever repaying our debt to these six men. As
humans, we strive to express our gratitude to them.”
Following the ceremony, Sherry
Bryant clutched the flag given to her and made her way to the pedestal honoring
her late husband.
Douglas Bryant was killed in May
2003 when his patrol truck was intentionally struck by the car of a man he was
pursuing on Interstate 71/75 in Fort Mitchell.
“The people that will come through
here now will ensure these officers will not be forgotten,” she said. “You
continue through life and you move on, but something nobody will ever take away
is the memories. They’ll live forever.”