The contributions of fallen Atlanta officers Richard Halford and Shawn Smiley, who were killed in a fiery helicopter crash on Marting Luther King Dr., were recognized by the September 11th First Responders Appreciation program.
The two officers were killed in 2012 when their helicopter crashed during a special operation seeking to locate a missing child in the SW Atlanta community. The program, founded by Audraine Jackson of Jackson Communications in 2002, is an annual ceremony honoring the memory of the 9-11 victims and bravery of the heroes.
The Helicopter Unit of the Special Ops Division of the City of Atlanta Police Department was treated to a full lunch and thanked for their service. A moment of prayer was held in memory of the sacrifices Halford and Smiley made to protect residents.
This year marks the 12th annual event recognizing contributions of officers and firefighters serving southwest Atlanta communities. Participants included radio personality Silas “SiMan Baby” Alexander, a SW Atlanta resident who has supported the program since its inception. “We should all take time to thank those who put their lives on the line for us every day,” said Alexander.
In addition to the helicopter unit, fire stations 25 Benjamin E. Mays, 9 Adamsville, 5 Campbellton Road and 31 Fairburn Road were honored.
Supporters of the program include Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Office of
Constituent Services, Councilman Michael Julian Bond (at-large),
Councilman C.T. Martin, District 10 and Publix Supermarkets.