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Honoring fallen heroes

Canadian County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Mike Grimes signs a banner in honor of Deputy Shirley Lanning who lost her life while on duty in 2020. The End of Watch Ride to Remember stopped in El Reno to pay tribute to Lanning and other officers who lost their lives over the previous year. Photo / Michael Pineda

It was Feb. 14, 2020 when Canadian County Sheriff Deputy Shirley Lanning was involved in a crash that would ultimately claim her life days later.
Last week, the End of Watch Ride to Remember made a stop at the sheriff’s office in Canadian County to pay tribute to Lanning and her family members. Six on motorcycle led a truck and trailer that featured all officers, who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Ride Chairman Jagrut ‘JC’ Shah addressed those in attendance with Canadian County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Mike Grimes and Sheriff Chris West. He said those on the trailer all had three factors in common, a God-given name, wore a uniform and all were bonded by the color of red. Grimes thanked everyone for coming and being there to honor Lanning and her family.
“God bless each and every one of you for what you are doing,” he said.
The number of officers honored rose over the past year significantly. Shah, who founded the ride, said there were 247 officers who lost their lives in service in 2019. In 2020, that number rose to 339.
“Every one of these people were united in the bond that is law enforcement and making sure our community is safe,” West said. “Thank you for not only honoring Shirley but the others.”
Lanning’s brother Paul Frech and his wife Donita were both on-hand to see her honored. At one point, Shah stopped his public address and began speaking to Paul Frech in a private moment.
“It’s good they are keeping the memory alive, but it makes it hard on us,” Donita Frech said.
The End of Watch Ride to Remember is the brainchild of Shah, who said the idea developed over a period. The one thing that stands out about the numerous stops is seeing and feeling some of the hurt people are going through.
The ride is funded by donations by those “who have the guts to sponsor.”
A banner is signed at each stop and the banners will be displayed at 1350 Distillery in Colorado at the end of the ride.

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