Seven law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty were recognized by the Henry County Board of Supervisors Tuesday night with the unveiling of bridges named in their honor.
The fallen honored were John Hughes Mitchell, George S. Frame, John J. Johnston, Willis Herman Ferguson, George Melvin Brown, Paul Edward Grubb, and Sgt. J. Michael Philippi.
“While we know that a mere sign is a small token and cannot replace what these families have lost, we sincerely hope these signs will guarantee that the names of these officers and their sacrifices will never be forgotten,” Jim Adams, chairman of the Henry County Board of Supervisors, said.
The idea for the memorials began in 2021 when Tommy Slaughter, of the Reed Creek District and a retired police officer for the City of Martinsville, was approached by Grubb’s family about the board’s consideration of a bridge renaming to honor the late officer’s sacrifice.
During deliberations, the supervisors decided to offer a similar
gesture to all of the law enforcement officials who encountered their end of watch while valiantly serving. County staff coordinated with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to get the signs authorized and worked with the Henry County Sheriff’s Office and the families of the fallen officers to find suitable locations for the memorials.
To be considered for a bridge memorial, the officer must have either been a resident of Henry County or primarily performed their duties in the county.
In other matters, the Board:
*Approved an additional appropriation of $220,200 to the school nutrition budget for the fresh fruit and vegetable program for the elementary schools.
*Approved an additional appropriation of $17,262 received from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant to pay for overtime hours for the sheriff’s office to provide high impact law enforcement activities in areas that are experiencing increases in crime.
*Approved the additional appropriation of two grants received from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, in the amounts of $20,350 and $19,550 respectively, to be used for training, equipment and overtime compensation related to the enforcement of alcohol and speed-related laws.
*Approved the additional appropriation of $426 received from state asset forfeiture funds to cover the cost of a real estate title search by the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.
*Approved the additional appropriation of $9,000 received from a grant managed by Piedmont Community Services to cover additional expenses in the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office related to the drug court.
*Designated Slaughter to serve as the voting representative for Henry County at the 2022 Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) Annual Business Meeting. Garrett Dillard, of the Iriswood District, was selected to serve as an alternate.
*Approved a resolution authorizing an application for the Industrial Revitalization Fund Planning Grant to help the Bassett Community Center with a feasibility and market study to rehabilitate their building located at 119 Blackberry Road. The projected cost of the study and design plan is $50,000 with no local match required.
*Recognized Patrinda Toney Hughes for her recent induction into the Radford University Athletic Hall of Fame.
*Recognized the Department of Public Safety for the Blue Ridge Fire & EMS Academy’s recent selection as a recipient of the 2022 Achievement Award presented by VACo.
*Approved a resolution to honor veterans through the “Operation Green Light” initiative.
*Conducted a public hearing and approved a request to rezone approximately 35-acres in the Iriswood District from Suburban Residential District to Rural Residential District. The applicant plans to use the property for gardening, an orchard and to raise agricultural livestock.