Clouds threatening rain — and the cloud of a police officer in Baltimore County shot in the line of duty the day before — hung over Fallen Heroes Day as public officials spoke, children laid a wreath and a procession of more than 25 honor guard units stood by.
More than 1,000 civilians, police officers, fire personnel and others gathered Friday for the 34th annual Fallen Heroes Day at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens. Five from Maryland who died in the line of service were remembered.
Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. called them “superheroes.”
“Today serves as a blunt reminder that the real heroes are ordinary people willing to do extraordinary things,” Olszewski said.
The five from Maryland who were honored were:
» Officer 1st Class Amy Caprio, of the Baltimore County Police Department, who died in the line of duty on May 21, 2018, while responding to a home burglary. One West Baltimore teen was found guilty this week of felony murder in her death; three others await trial. Caprio lived in Fallston and was 29.
» Rescue Capt. Patricia “Pat” Osborne, of the North Beach Volunteer Fire Department, who died May 26, 2018, of her own medical emergency while riding in the back of an ambulance. She was 69.
» Special Agent Nole Remagen, of the U.S. Secret Service, who died July 17, 2018, after suffering a stroke while on protection detail in Scotland. He lived in Dunkirk and was 42.
» Lt. Nathan Flynn, of the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services, who died in the line of duty on July 23, 2018, when he fell through the floor while battling a fire. The Havre de Grace resident was 34.
» Assistant Fire Chief Daniel “Danny” Lister, of the Queen Anne-Hillsboro Volunteer Fire Company, who died Sept. 1, 2018, after suffering a cardiac arrest while in the line of duty. He was 34.
Fox 45’s Kai Jackson, who hosted the ceremony, said Caprio, Baltimore County’s first female officer to die in the line of duty, served with “dedication and grace.”
Her supervisors, Jackson said, described Caprio’s “extraordinary” work ethic.
“She truly loved being a police officer and helping us. This was her passion,” Jackson said.
Caprio, a dog lover, was said to keep a leash and dog treats with her whenever she went on patrol, “just in case” there was a call for a lost dog.
Like Caprio, Flynn was also a first — the first career member of Howard County Fire and Rescue Services to die in the line of duty.
“His commitment to be the best firefighter that he could be was evident every day,” said Jackson, noting that Flynn always wanted to train more.
Fellow firefighters said they could count on Flynn "no matter what the situation was,” and Jackson said that to know him was “to know a man of excellence.”
Including those five, Fallen Heroes Day has recognized 186 individuals since its inception. Keeping with tradition, Gov. Larry Hogan ordered the Maryland flag flown at half-staff.
In addition to the five who died in the line of duty in 2018, the ceremony recognized two men, firefighter Steward W. Godwin, who died in 1963, and police officer Jimmy D. Halcomb, who died in 1976 — both before Fallen Heroes Day was established in Maryland.
Charles Schneider, the father of Officer 1st Class Jason Schneider, of Carroll County, who was honored at the 2014 Fallen Heroes Day Ceremony, said he understood the grief and shock the family members of those fallen were experiencing.
He said he knew what it was like to wish that maybe, just maybe, they could have convinced their loved ones to stay home the day they died, or even to have chosen a different line of work.
“It is, however, doubtful that we could have talked them out of it,” Schneider said.
For Baltimore County, the day had extra significance — one of its officers was shot in the line of duty Thursday and taken into surgery at University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center. The officer, identified as T. Hays, is expected to survive her injuries. Baltimore County police officers are identified by last name only, per an agreement with the county police union.
The Morning Sun
Police officials said Friday they do not know how Hays was shot, but that she was not shot by the suspect, identified as 76-year-old Robert Uhl Johnson, who was shot and killed by police.
Olszewski said that he was speaking Friday “with a humble heart” because he had been reminded Thursday why first responders refer to each other as “brother” and “sister” and had been impressed with how police officers rallied around each other.
The families and other representatives of the fallen were given a replica of the Fallen Heroes Memorial and a copy of a resolution from the Maryland General Assembly.
Many of the speakers — including Olszewski, Schneider, and former state Sen. Clarence M. Mitchell IV, who hosts a radio talk show, spoke broadly of heroics and sacrifice. At times, they spoke directly to the families of the fallen, thanking them and reiterating their support.
“Know that we share your grief,” Olszewski said.