On Sunday, December 12, 2010, 15-year PCSO veteran Sgt. Wes Whitmore died in the line of duty when he and his patrol car were struck by an out-of-control SUV that careened through the parking lot of the 7-11 store located at 4000 Recker Hwy (at the intersection of Recker Hwy and Spirit Lake Road), where Sgt. Whitmore had just made a traffic stop.
The store is a franchise owned and operated by Douglas Bryant. Mr. Bryant and his staff have always had a close working relationship with the PCSO members who frequent the store - it is located approximately half of a mile from the PCSO Central District substation. Mr. Bryant and Sgt. Whitmore also had what he describes as more of a "friendship, not just a working relationship." And on the day that Wes died, Mr. Bryant and the 7-11 employees grieved along with PCSO members and the Whitmore family.
Together, deputies and 7-11 employees came up with a way to honor Wes' memory.
The district manager for the store, John Womack, insisted on commissioning and paying for a bronze plaque to be placed on the outside wall of the store near where Wes was killed. The plaque's design is a collaborative effort of Wes' family, PCSO members, and the 7-11 employees.
The plaque will be unveiled by Mrs. Sherry Whitmore in a ceremony including Sheriff Judd, District Manager John Womack, store owner Douglas Bryant, PCSO members, and 7-11 employees, at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 14, 2011.
The media and the public are invited and encouraged to attend this ceremony. "The people in the community, at this store, and our PCSO family members have been grieving since December 12th for the loss of a great man and a great friend, and have had the desire for something to be placed at the store to honor his memory," said Sheriff Grady Judd. "We are truly humbled by the generosity of the 7-11 employees and managers, who insisted on fully funding this project. Now everyone who visits this store will never forget how Wes died doing what he loved, for the community that he loved."