Traveling Memorial Honors Fallen Owasso Police: ‘This is the Beginning of Healing’ | News
5 months ago
Owasso Reporter Editor Art Haddaway
Friends and family of fallen Owasso police officers Howard Smith and Edgar “Buddy” Pales Jr. recently gathered to pay tribute to their loved ones.
They gathered at Redbud Festival Park last Wednesday to watch a traveling memorial trailer showcasing the images and names of 608 fallen officers, including Smith and Pales, as part of Beyond the Call of Duty’s End of Watch 2022 campaign.
“It’s good that everyone supports us and is here to support us,” Victoria Smith, Howard’s daughter, said at last week’s event. “Honestly, it’s really an honor to know that people care enough to honor his sacrifice.”
Kasey Pirrone, Buddy’s daughter, added: “It’s a very rewarding experience. It’s amazing to know that he was special to other people, not just me. And he can travel…everywhere, so that’s really special.”
The two Owasso officers passed away last year from complications of COVID-19. Pales, a 28-year veteran of the Owasso Police Department, died in August after being hospitalized for more than a week with the virus. Howard, on the force for 21 years, died a month after a weeks-long battle with the disease.
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Their lasting legacies live on through the efforts of Beyond the Call of Duty, a Spokane Valley, Washington-based nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness for first responders lost on the front lines through its End of Watch memorial.
Owasso is one of 268 stops stretching 23,000 miles as part of the organization’s 80-day cross-country tour, an initiative Jagruit “JC” Shaw launched in 2019.
“My main goal was to allow and let survivors know that their loved ones will not be forgotten,” Shaw said, “and to let departments know that the pain they feel is felt, not just in the city, the county, but across Nacional level.
“It’s a club you don’t want to be a part of, but it’s a club that brings healing.”
Several members of the community showed up at last week’s memorial, including Owasso Police Chief Dan Yancey, along with many police officers who shared close collaboration with Smith and Pales.
“Hopefully this is the beginning of the healing,” Yancey said. “Hopefully one day we can start to move forward, not necessarily put this behind us, but get to a better place and continue to think about the memories we had with those officers.”
Former Owasso Reserve Officer Jose Romero, who served with the department from 2003 to 2016, also died of complications related to COVID-19 in Florida in September 2021.
The Owasso community honored fallen officers at recent memorial services at First Baptist Owasso, where hundreds of locals gathered to pay their respects.
For more information on Beyond the Call of Duty and its End of Watch Commemorative Roadshow Trailer, visit endofwatchride.com.
Photos: Traveling Memorial Trailer Visits Owasso to Honor Fallen Police Officers