The Alabama Fraternal Order of Police recently presented Felicia Bryant, widow of former Centre Police Investigator Jeff Bryant with the Medal of Valor for her husband’s sacrifice for his country and community.
The Medal is presented by the President of the United States. Initially, the Medal was presented in Washington, D.C., in the presence of President Obama and other dignitaries.
Alabama FOP representatives Bobby Randle and Beverly Hardy delivered the medals for a brief ceremony in the courtroom of the Cherokee County Courthouse.
Investigator Bryant was on duty when he was killed in a tragic automobile accident while traveling on Alabama Highway 35 in December 2013.
Felicia, Logan Shortnacy, Bryant’s stepson and Bryant’s three-year-old daughter, Josey, were on hand to accept the medals.
Cherokee County Sheriff Jeff Shaver introduced FOP Representatives Randle and Hardy who made the presentation.
“Felicia, on behalf of the President of the United States, the president of the National FOP and president of the National Auxiliary, we present you with the Medal of Valor for your husband,” said Hardy. “There are two medals for dedication and pride and the sacrifice that he gave to keep us safe. Thank you very much.”
Cherokee County District Attorney Mike O’Dell, who was also present at the ceremony, shared a few words.
“The sheriff and I and some of our law enforcement were saddened that we couldn’t get up to Washington for this,” said O’Dell. “I understand it is an extremely special time and very dignified ceremony. So the second best thing is to have these folks who did go to come back and bring those memories with them of that very special moment.”
“And I do want to say once again on behalf of the sheriff, all of our law enforcement friends out here that we are a family and we stand together, we laugh together and we cry together but we never forget the sacrifices that are made each and every day by the husbands and wives of our law enforcement personnel,” said O’Dell. “There is no greater calling in my opinion than to be a public servant in the arena of law enforcement and though we have you accept these medals under a sad occasion, it represents a life of service and a life that will never be forgotten for the service that was rendered on behalf of the citizens of this county and we are deeply appreciative of not only having the opportunity to work with Jeff but to have known him as our friend and fellow partner.”
“So we thank you very much for being here and letting us take this time to honor you like this,” said O’Dell.
“I appreciate everybody for coming out and being a part of our moment here in time,” said Felicia. “Nothing will ever bring him back, but I know he loved the job that he did. He put everything in it, 100 percent every day.”
“And I know he would be honored for everybody here today to be sharing with us,” said Felicia. “And I feel honored and I always will stand behind him and support him.”
“Felicia, I am also a survivor,” said Officer Hardy. “I lost my brother in 1995 in the line of duty. If you ever need anything, you just pick up the phone and call!”