City of Hawkins seeking information for police officer memorial
HAWKINS, Texas (KLTV) - Efforts by one East Texas city to create a police officers’ memorial have hit a snag.
The city of Hawkins and the chamber of commerce are desperately trying to find family members for a fallen officer from 60 years ago.
The city is currently working on the design and construction of a police officers’ memorial to honor the 2 officers who were killed in the line of duty in the city’s history.
“The memorial plans are already in the works. We have plans where we’re going to put it in the city park,” said Hawkins Mayor Susan Hubbard.
The current police chief said a memorial is important to remind people that officers risk more than a paycheck when they go to work.
“To remind people that there was a sacrifice made here. They were still out there trying to help somebody when they were killed, so it’s to remind them that it happens here,” said Hawkins Police Chief Guy McKee.
“Every officer wants to go home every evening, just like we do. These two officers did not get to go home,” said Hawkins resident Becky Attaway.
In an eerie coincidence, both officers, just a few years apart, were killed in accidents in almost the identical spot on Highway 80, west of Hawkins.
Officer Rachiel Bailey died on duty in 1965 at 60, while officer Lucas Whatley died on duty in 1959, also at age 60.
While family members and memorabilia for Officer Bailey have been found, the same cannot be said of Officer Whatley.
No family members can be found, not even a picture of him.
“He had no children, but we know he had some brothers and sisters, so we’re hoping to reach out to them and get some information,” Hubbard said.
A clue that might spark a memory is the main road, Beaulah Street.
“Whatley’s wife was named Beaulah. She was the welcoming committee to Hawkins. They named the street in her honor,” the mayor said.
To honor him properly, they need a family member’s help.
“Pictures, memorabilia -- anything we can on officer Whatley,” said Hubbard.
Anyone with information on Officer Whatley or his family members is asked to call Hawkins city offices.
Mayor Hubbard said the city plans to dedicate the officers memorial on National Night Out in October.
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