The American flag hung from a boom truck as the bagpipes of the Sacramento Firefighters Pipes and Drums echoed down Civic Drive in Galt on Thursday afternoon, reminiscent of a fallen police officer’s funeral.
Although the day was a somber as Galtonians remembered one of their own officers killed in the line of duty two years ago to the day, it was also a time for celebration.
The Officer Kevin Tonn Fallen Heroes Memorial was unveiled and dedicated Thursday in a ceremony attended by fellow public safety workers, elected officials, family members and the community at large. The memorial was made possible largely through community donations solicited by the Community Heroes Appreciation Memorial Project, or CHAMP.
In addition to Tonn, the city of Galt recognized Sacramento County animal control officer Roy Marcum, killed in Galt on Nov. 28, 2012, — just seven weeks before Tonn’s Jan. 15, 2013, end of watch. Marcum, who often worked in Galt, was shot when he went to retrieve pets believed abandoned in a foreclosure proceeding.
Both of their names are engraved into the memorial, and each was recognized with a wreath-laying ceremony on Thursday.
Tonn was killed while responding to a burglary call. Marcum’s killer was recently sentenced to concurrent life terms for his crime. Tonn’s killer committed suicide shortly after he shot the officer.
“Our heroes are forgotten until there’s trouble,” Mayor Mark Crews said in welcoming the crowd that gathered outside City Hall. “Visitors will come to our city and ask, ‘Who are these people?’ They were members of the law enforcement community ... who gave so much and asked for so little.”
CHAMP, born from a memorial ad hoc committee created to submit ideas on how to honor Tonn and led by Lynn Hutchinson of the Galt Police Department, began fundraising efforts in May 2013.
Many board members didn’t even know Tonn, Hutchinson said.
The organization’s first fundraiser consisted of CHAMP members standing outside of local stores holding miniature dog houses since Tonn was a K-9 officer. “Some pulled out $100 bills and just wanted to talk about Kevin,” Hutchinson recalled, adding that the effort raised $2,500.
After 20 months, the group had raised $55,000 to fund the memorial; CHAMP split the cost with the city of Galt.
In addition to the memorial unveiling under bright blue skies Thursday, state Sen. Cathleen Galgiani, D-Stockton, unveiled the new highway sign dedicating a portion of State Route 99 to Tonn.
The ceremony was also attended by Sacramento County Supervisor Don Nottoli, and representatives of state Assemblyman Jim Cooper, D-Elk Grove, and Congressman Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton.
Public safety personnel from across Northern California were also represented, including honor guard members from Concord Police, Placer County Sheriff, Sacramento Fire and Lodi Police departments.
Tonn’s family, including his parents Will and Mary Ann Tonn and his police dog Yaro, were also present.
Tonn’s parents publicly thanked those who were put in their lives after their son’s untimely death.
“I never thought Kevin would be killed in the line of duty,” Mary Ann Tonn said. “It doesn’t seem possible Kevin is gone. After two years, it still doesn’t seem possible.”
Although they did not speak, Marcum’s widow Tina and adult children also attended.
Throughout the ceremony, several speakers made comments about not wanting to have to add names of future fallen heroes to the memorial wall bearing both Marcum and Tonn’s names. “We need to do everything possible to keep names off this wall,” said Crews, himself a retired Galt police officer.
Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.