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Posts Tagged ‘Pennsylvania State Trooper’

9:30 AM comes pretty early on any Monday morning, but for some reason it didn’t seem that early on this particular day.  This was the day a lot of people have been anticipating.   This was the day the Cpl McEvoy was finally going to have a stone to mark his final resting place!

Jim and I arrived at Woodward Hill Cemetery about 9:15 and found that people were assembling.  Chairs were set up for the family in front of the gravesite, chairs for the dignitaries next to the gravesite, State Troopers were lining up, Bagpipers were assembling and cameras were being focused by a TV station and the State Trooper Organization.  It was busyness with family greeting one another, State Troopers introducing themselves to the family and final details were being ironed out.  Before we knew it, the ceremony began with the State Troopers marching in from the right.  What an impressive site!IMG_0009
There were two different Honor Guards, one from the Lancaster City Police and the other from the Pennsylvania State Troopers. The one pictured below is from Lancaster.IMG_0013
. . . and the State Trooper’s Department Ceremonial Unit Members which did the Presentation of Colors.IMG_0017After the National Anthem was sung and Invocation was given, Trooper Kelly A. Osborne-Filson (yes, this is Trooper Kelly I’ve referred to in all the posts) read Cpl McEvoy’s biography.  Seated behind Kelly is Chaplain Grover G. DeVault, Pennsylvania State Police Chaplain and Lancaster City Police Chief, Keith Sadler.IMG_0022Captain Brenda M. Bernot, Commanding Officer of Troop J spoke of Cpl McEvoy’s sacrifice and presented the new headstone along with Terry McEvoy, grandson of the deceased McEvoy.   Mr. McEvoy then placed the Memorial Wreath, which was provided by the Pennsylvania State Police Academy Civic Association,  next to the new headstone.  The headstone was donated by Haldy/Keener Memorials, a division of Gingrich Memorials.IMG_0023 Members of Pennsylvania State Police Troop J made up the Firing Detail which fired 3 rounds (see the smoke??) and Trooper Louis P. Gober of Troop M played Taps. IMG_0032The amazing Chester County Emerald Society Pipe Band gave a simply amazing rendition of, what else but, Amazing Grace!  There really is nothing like a bugle playing Taps and a group of bagpies playing Amazing Grace to make goosebumps pop up at a Funeral or a Memorial Service.  This one had both!

Appreciating the music is a granddaughter of Cpl.  McEvoy.

IMG_0045 The service closed with a benediction and closing remarks by Lt. William P. White. He led the Troopers (and anyone else who desired to) in the “Call of Honor,” the Pennsylvania State Trooper’s creed, motto or whatever the term they use for the . . .

Call of Honor

I am a Pennsylvania State Trooper; a soldier of the law.  To me
is entrusted the honor of the force. I must serve honestly, faithfully,
and if need be, lay down my life as others have done before me,
rather than swerve from the of duty  It is my duty to obey the law
and to enforce it without any consideration of class, color, creed,
or condition. It is also my duty to be of service to anyone who may
be in danger or distress, and at all times so conduct myself that the
Honor of the Force may be upheld.

After the service, photo opportunties  were taken advantage of!  The first and most important?  Why it is the family and Kelly around the new stone!  Kelly is the one in the State Trooper uniform (as if you the reader couldn’t figure that one out!)

The girl behind the headstone in the black dress and white sweater is the great-granddaughter of Cpl. McEvoy.  Hallie Romanowski, is wearing her grandmother’s dress (Cpl. McEvoy’s daughter, Martha) and brought Martha’s scrapbook.  That scrapbook was full of wonderful family information.  Martha even kept a copy of the original report of the accident that took McEvoy’s life.

I’d love to put names with the faces, but all I know are Hallie’s, Terry McEvoy on the far left, and his sister, Vicky , in the black, next to Hallie.IMG_0057

A wonderful photo op would be the next photo. Terry McEvoy and the flag that had been presented to him is in the middle behind his grandfather’s new headstone. He is surrounded by the Ceremonial Unit Members. Isn’t this a great photo??IMG_0059

This chapter would not be complete with a picture of Trooper Kelly standing next to the headstone that would not be there today if it were not for her!  Corporal Ben F. McEvoy will now be remembered through the ages, thanks to one Pennsylvania State Trooper who just would not give up!  It was her sheer determination that brought us all together at Woodward Hill Cemetery on that overcast Monday morning in September.IMG_0047

The morning ended with what else but food and socialization at the Troop J, Lancaster Headquarters.  The Pennsylvania State Police really know how to honor their own, and in doing so has shown a family that their ancestor was just as important to others as he was to them!  It was a great morning and a beautiful ceremony.  This was a fitting end to the final chapter in honoring

Cpl. Ben F. McEvoy, Pennsylvania State Trooper.

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The blogs dealing with this story from the very beginning can be accessed at the following links:

http://tr.im/mCly
http://tr.im/mWSR
http://tr.im/o0Eg
http://tr.im/yV3t

Thank you for following the story.  It’s been a pleasure being the “storyteller!”


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This is the next to last chapter in the Honoring of Cpl. Ben F. McEvoy.  The dedication ceremony honoring him will be held on Monday, at his supposed gravesite . . . and Marianne, Jim and I have been invited along with his family and members of his Pennsylvania State Trooper family.

A week ago, Jim and I went to the cemetery to verify some information on another project I am working on, and I spotted this!  The cement slab was in place for the grave marker for Cpl. McEvoy!  I cannot believe I did not have my camera with me, but thank goodness, I had my cell phone!

MMS_Resized_PixI went back today with my camera, and it was a good thing I took the picture last week, because the scene had changed.  Everything is in place for the unveiling ceremony next week.  Well, almost everything.  Jim will clean off Cpl. McEvoy’s uncle’s headstone directly behind the “Kiehl” Monument.  See it?  It is covered with grass clippings from many mowings in the past.

IMG_0208

We’ll be there Sunday to clean off that headstone and we’ll be there Monday!

. . . there is no way we’d miss that!

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Searching for State Trooper Ben F. McEvoy’s headstone has become a mission and I’ve never been one to shy away from a challenge!

On Friday, Trooper Kelly came into the Historical Society and Marianne had a stack of information for her.  We had located the obituaries for his family, including his two children, the newspaper article about his accident and various census records.  We kept looking for various things when she was there and decided we’d go the the cemetery the next day.  Kelly wasn’t able to, but Marianne was game.

On Saturday we went back to the Cemetery, sans Trooper Kelly, to look for that elusive headstone.  Jim had his slim iron bar and he and Marianne probed a foot apart for the entire site.  Three different times we thought we had found something and started shoveling.  They were all false alarms. 

Marianne

With the second dig we encountered pieces of what appeared to be a broken headstone and a rusty metal hinge of some sort, and at one point we actually dug down about 3 feet, but were afraid to go further because we just weren’t sure exactly what we’d find. . . . .  The picture shows Jim, shovel in hand, Marianne next to the prober and replacing the dirt, making sure the clumps of sod are covering our dig.  We left the site exactly as we found it ~ well, maybe a little better!  The model A is in the background.  

Why go in the Model A?  Well, it is the same era of the one that hit Cpl. McEvoy and Jim thought it would be cool to drive it!  Evidently others thought the same thing, since we got a lot of honks, waves and thumbs up!  

Final results of Saturday’s venture?  Zip!  No flat headstone, nothing that would even suggest another headstone was in the site.  

Back to the drawing board!

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BFM

BACKGROUND OF THE STORY:

Each year on Memorial Day the Pennsylvania State Troopers place 2 flags on the graves of all their fallen brethren.  For at least the past 20 years, and perhaps longer, one grave has been missed.  The final resting place of Corporal Ben F. McEvoy has never been located.  There was paperwork indicating that they probably knew where it was, but nothing to indicate that they had ever found the exact site.

The story begins in 1923 with the death of Ben F. McEvoy, a Pennsylvania State Trooper who died in the line of duty.  He was the first Trooper who died from a vehicular accident and was from Lancaster.  According to the information in the State Trooper Archives, he had a wife, Mrs. Ben F. McEvoy, and a son, no names, nothing else.

Fast forward to Thursday, 21 May 2009, when the Community Services Officer from the Lancaster Barracks went to the Historical Society to try to find where exactly Cpl. McEvoy is buried.  The biography said Woodward Cemetery, and she rightfully assumed Woodward Hills Cemetery, but where?  It is a HUGE cemetery, after all!  Marianne looked it up on the database, but the Trooper is not listed.  There was another McEvoy, Margaret to be exact, buried in Section N, lot 74, however.  Perhaps Margaret was his wife and he was buried with her.  Armed with the information and a map of the cemetery, Trooper Kelly left.

Friday is my volunteer day and when I arrived, Marianne gave me the information, knowing Woodward Hill Cemetery was my second home.  I told her I’d be delighted to try to find the headstone for Trooper Kelly.

Cemetery kit, map and information in hand, Jim and I took off for the Cemetery on Saturday to see what we could find.  As we entered the cemetery we saw a mother and daughter, flags in hand walking on one of the lanes.  We stopped and I asked if I could help them find something.  She explained she was looking for a site in Section N and couldn’t find the headstone.  I asked for the name and she said “Mc Evoy!”  I had just met Trooper Kelly . . . and she knew that my name was Linda!  The four of us took off on our mission to find Corporal Mc Evoy’s final resting spot.  We walked up and down the area where Margaret Mc Evoy is supposed to be buried.  No Mc Evoy was there or even close.  No headstone for a Mc Evoy is in that cemetery period!!

Disappointed that we did not find a thing, we talked over our options and decided we needed to find out who was buried in the surrounding area.  I knew we also needed an obituary to verify that the burial was in the Woodward Hill Cemetery.  I told Trooper Kelly I would go to the Historical Society and see what I could find, after all, I’ve never been opposed to doing a little research!  

WHAT I FOUND AT THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY:

  • I pulled up the database for Woodward Hill Cemetery and Kevin showed me how to organize it by Section Number.  Finding Section “N”, we went down to #74 and saw that it was registered to “Benjamin F. Kiehl” with completely different dates than “Ben F. Mc Evoy” but it had the notation PA State Trooper.  Confusing to say the least.
  • Kevin suggested that I look at marriage license information to see if Mc Evoy married a Kiehl.  I took that film out of the drawer.
  • I wanted to look at the obituary first, since I was sure there would be a good one ~ after all he had died in the line of duty.
  • Bingo!  There was a picture, a long obituary, the names of his family and even their address.  It was a gold mine of information.  
  • I then went to the Classified section where it lists funeral information.  There was the information we were looking for.  Burial in Woodward Hill, mother was MARGARET MC EVOY and funeral would take place from the home of his grandmother, MARY KIEHL.  He was buried in his grandparents plot!  I did not have to look at marriage licenses!

 

BACK TO THE CEMETERY:

KiehlBenF

 The found information necessitated a return trip to the cemetery to verify the information.  I drove right to the site, and indeed the monument there was the KIEHL monument.  The only stone there was for Benjamin F. Kiehl, and I’m assuming this is Ben F. McEvoy’s namesake.  Since I had Trooper Kelly’s card, I gave her a call to let her know what I had found.  She was as excited as I was and asked me if I could wait and she would head right over.  I wasn’t going to miss this, so of course, I waited!!  

KeihlBenF1

When they pulled up, I had my paperwork ready and handed it to Trooper Kelly.  She was thrilled to see a picture of this Trooper and explained that the State Trooper Archives didn’t even have a picture of him!  I told her those were her’s for their files and asked if I could take pictures of them placing their flags at the Kiehl monument and do a blog on this . . . 

THE FINAL RESULT:

 

McEvoy

 CORPORAL BEN F. MC EVOY is honored as one of the State Police’s fallen.

McEvoy1
It is our honor, Corporal Ben F. McEvoy, to honor YOU this Memorial Day!  Thank you for your service to the citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania!

 

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