Updated 05/10/2012 05:49 PM
Cumberland County officers killed in the line of duty honored
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CUMBERLAND COUNTY, N.C. — Law enforcement from across Cumberland County came out Thursday morning to honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice.
"I am proud of them, I know that it takes a lot from families who have their loved ones in law enforcement. It is hard for me when I go to the memorials, but this one I believe is the hardest because I see both of my sons uniforms out there. It is very hard for me because I know that my other two loved ones are out there too," said Thelma Matthews.
Matthews lost her son, Cumberland County Sheriff's Deputy Brian Matthews in 2005 when he was killed in a car crash while in pursuit to assist a fellow officer. Her husband is a retired Cumberland County Deputy Sheriff, her other son is a Fayetteville police officer.
"My husband was home mowing the grass and he heard the sirens, its the worst thing that can ever happen to a parent,” said Thelma Matthews.
Since 1907, thirty-five law enforcement officers have died in the line of duty in the Cumberland County area. Every year those officers are honored, but their families say time does not heal all wounds.
"Today is a bitter sweet moment to remember him. This is an awesome thing that the county is doing to remember the young officers; but it breaks my heart each year to have to come to this,” said Malissie Hardin.
Hardin and her husband sit front row Thursday as the name of their son, Sgt. James Heath Hardin of the hope mills police department is read aloud among the other law enforcement. They say they honor all law enforcement as a remembrance of their son and his love for the job.
"We are constantly reminded every day of the job that our son did and we still have great respect for what they do,” said Harold Hardin.
Sgt. James Hardin was killed in 2007. He is the most recent officer killed in the line of duty in Cumberland County.