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The black granite memorial was designed by local law enforcement officers to honor those who died while serving the county.

Photo by Allison Haver

Originally published: 2014-07-17 18:30:20
Last modified: 2014-07-17 18:30:20


by Allison Haver

Citizens of Watauga County are invited to the dedication ceremony of the Watauga County Law Enforcement Officer's Memorial located at the Watauga County Sheriff's Office.

The ceremony will take place at  7 p.m. on Saturday, July 26, and will be followed by refreshments and a candle light vigil.

The ceremony will be held on the two-year anniversary of Watauga County Sheriff's Deputy William Mast Jr. death on July 26, 2012.

The planning for the memorial started about a year and a half ago when officers wanted some recognition not only for William Mast, but also for all officers who died while serving the county, according to Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman.

"The officers came together and came up with the original concept of the layout and design (of the memorial)," Hagaman said.

With help from the town of Boone Public Works and Planning and Inspection departments, Watauga County Maintenance and Sanitation departments and many local businesses and community members giving donations, the idea of the memorial became a reality, he said.

The memorial has become important to local law enforcement officers, Hagaman said.

"Since Day One, officers have come out here to water the plants and do whatever needs to be done to maintain this area," he said. "We could have had contractors come out and do the work while we sat back and watched, but I believe that working on this has been therapeutic, especially with what this memorial means to us."

The China black granite memorial arrived and was set within the past week, according to Hagaman.

"It arrived in five pieces, with each piece weighing around 200 pounds per cubic foot," he said. "It took around 45 minutes to set."

After Mast was killed in the line of duty in July 2012, the sheriff's department did not have a flagpole to put at half-staff.

In all, the memorial will have six names - four of who died in the line of duty and two others who died while actively serving all officers from Boone and Blowing Rock police departments and the Watauga County Sheriff's Office.

Aside from Mast, other officers stationed in Watauga County who have died in the line of duty are former Boone Police Chief Hill Hagaman, who died Oct. 10, 1933; Blowing Rock Chief William Greene, who died Feb. 18, 1963; Boone Police Officer John Knapp, who died in March 1999; Maj. Bob Kennedy of the Boone Police Department, who died July 17, 2002; and Watauga County Sheriff's Office Sergeant Patrick (Pat) Baker, who died in November 2010.

"It is my understanding that all of the families of fallen officers listed on the memorial will be represented at the dedication," Hagaman said.
"A wreath will be presented during the ceremony in which each of the families will come up and place a rose in the wreath," he said.

The following are the six officers listed on the Watauga County Law Enforcement Officer's Memorial:

Chief Hill Hagaman: Hagaman, 41, with the Boone Police Department was shot and killed while conducting a liquor raid on a service station with a deputy sheriff. The two men had just located 22 pints of whiskey when the 21-year-old attendant produced a pistol and shot Hagaman twice. A deputy returned fire, slightly wounding the suspect and took him into custody. Hagaman was taken to a local hospital where he succumbed to his wounds five days later on Oct. 10, 1933.

Chief of Police William Dean Greene Sr.: Greene, 28, with the Blowing Rock Police Department was shot and killed while pursuing a vehicle occupied by two men and two women.

Unknown to Greene, the four had broken into a summer cottage in Blowing Rock. Before backup units arrived, the suspects stopped the car and one of the male suspects opened fire on Greene, striking him in the arm and back with a 410-gauge shotgun. Then both men stabbed him twice before fleeing. Greene was able to make it back to his patrol car and radio in a description of the suspects, who were later arrested and charged with murder.

The suspect who shot Greene was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison on March 1, 1963, and died in prison on Dec. 29, 1992.

The other male suspect was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 30 years. He paroled on Sept. 3, 1975. The two women pled guilty to manslaughter.

Greene was survived by his wife and two children.

Officer John Knapp: Knapp with the Boone Police Department died unexpectedly in March 1999. The John Knapp Memorial Scholarship Endowment was established in 1999 and provides scholarships for high school graduates or equivalents who are the child or spouse of a Watauga County area law enforcement officer.

Major Robert Kennedy: Kennedy, 46, with the Boone Police Department was killed in an airplane accident while searching for marijuana crops in Chowan County on July 17, 2002. Sergeant Anthony Futrell of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and Deputy Richard Ashley of the Chowan County Sheriff's Department were also killed.

Approximately 90 minutes into the second flight of the day, the Cessna 172-S experienced problems and crashed. Witnesses on the ground heard the engine sputter and saw the plane nosedive into the ground. There were no radio messages from the pilots indicating any problems.

Futrell and Kennedy, both members of the Civil Air Patrol, were piloting the aircraft and acting as spotters during the flight for further investigation.

Kennedy had served with the Boone Police Department for 27 years.

Sergeant Patrick (Pat) Baker: Baker, 53, of the Watauga County Sheriff's Office died in November 2010. Baker was a 26-year employee of the Sheriff's Office and led the DARE program (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) at the county schools for many years. He also worked as a patrol officer, crime prevention officer, investigator, court and civil officer, and shift sergeant during his time in Watauga County law enforcement. Baker was survived by his wife, Mary Greene, and daughter, Kathleen Baker.

Deputy Sheriff William Ronald Mast Jr.: Mast, 23, with the Watauga County Sheriff's Office was shot and killed as he responded to a 911 call at a trailer home on Hardin Road in Deep Gap at approximately 1 a.m., July 26, 2012.

Upon arriving at the scene he began walking toward the house when he was shot in the face. It is believed the subject, who shot him intentionally, ambushed him. Another deputy with him returned fire, killing the suspect.

Deputy Mast had served with the Watauga County Sheriff's Office for three years. He is survived  by his wife, son, parents and sibling.

The following is a list of those who helped make the memorial possible by either donating their time, money or other needs:

Watauga County Board of Commissioners
The Town of Boone - Public Works and Planning and Inspections Departments
Watauga County - Maintenance and Sanitation Department
Austin Barnes Funeral Service and Crematory
First Baptist Church of Boone
Mt. Vernon Baptist Church
Oak Grove Baptist Church
Perkinsville Baptist Church
Watauga County Law Enforcement Auxiliary
Benfield Nursery
Calvin Winters Nursery
Duckworth Landscaping and Nursery
Highland Landscaping Supply
Southern Agriculture
Turf Mountain Sod
Maple Ridge Landscaping
Log House Florist
Loven Ready- Mix
CDE Electric
Big Mo's Barbeque
Coca-Cola Bottling Company