Fallen officers' families arrive for national honors

By Erica Rakow, General assignment reporter, erakow@wjxt.com
Published On: May 13 2013 05:10:22 PM EDT
Updated On: May 13 2013 09:18:30 PM EDT

VIDEO: Family members and co-workers of two local law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty last year are in Washington, D.C. for national police week.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -

The two Northeast Florida law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty last year are being honored in Washington D.C. at National Police Week.

The family's of Clay County Detective David White and Columbia County Corrections Officer Ruben Thomas will attend a candlelight vigil Monday night at the Law Enforcement Memorial, where their names are among 120 officers who were just added.

The nation's capitol has made family members of the fallen heroes welcome.  From their airplane's arrival at the gate, to luggage pick up, and on to the hotel Thomas' family were never be alone.

"When we got here. we were just greeted by officers from all over the United States," said Paula Thomas, the Lake City man's mother of their arrival Monday morning. "They escorted us from the airport to the hotel. (A) full motorcade of motorcycles."

RELATED: Agencies to honor fallen officers Tuesday

Thomas was stabbed to death by an inmate at a prison in Lake City in March 2012.

"We were encouraged to come for healing and just to meet other people that's experienced the same thing. We have, but it is just unexplainable. It's nice to see other people that know what we're talking about and know what we've been through, they've also been through it," Ms. Thomas said.

The family of of Detective White is also in Washington for the Police Week events. White was shot and killed during a raid of a suspected meth lab in Middleburg in February 2012.

The widows of White and Thomas stood by side-by-side Monday afternoon at the law enforcement united flag ceremony.  Five hundred motorcyclists who had ridden to Washington rode by in honor of fallen officers.

Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Jose Medina gave White's wife and 5-year-old daughter a flag that flew on his bike during his ride from Green Cove Springs.  It has Detective White's picture on it.

As Ms. Thomas said, she and the White family are now members of a club no one ones to be in, but it's a bond that will never be broken.

Channel 4 will be in Washington reporting on other law enforcement memorial events through Wednesday morning, when the official ceremonies are held at the Law Enforcement Memorial and outside the U.S. Capitol building.

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