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SCV deputies honor fallen heroes

Posted: May 12, 2009 5:23 p.m.
Updated: May 12, 2009 6:53 p.m.
 

Although we honor their memories and sacrifices every day, the month of May brings a special time of year when law enforcement personnel can come together with family members, friends, dignitaries, community leaders, elected officials, and the community to recognize and remember our fallen heroes in special memorial ceremonies locally and throughout the nation. 

The ceremonies pay respect by honoring the memories of all those heroes in law enforcement and the armed services who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the protection of our country and our communities, helping to preserve the freedoms we enjoy everyday.

This year's ceremonies hit especially close to home for all the men and women of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, as local deputy Randy Hamson's name is being added to the California Peace Officers' Memorial in Sacramento, the National Peace Officers' Memorial in Washington, D.C., and the Los Angeles County Peace Officers' Memorial in Whittier.

As a tribute to our fallen friend and hero, several deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station joined in a caravan to Sacramento for the 33rd Annual California Peace Officers' Memorial Ceremony Friday.

The deputies joined members of Randy's family, Los Angeles County Sheriff Leroy D. Baca, Santa Clarita Valley Station Captain Anthony La Berge, former Santa Clarita Valley Station Captain Patti Minutello, and thousands of law enforcement officers from around the nation.

The deputies attended the ceremony to honor their fallen comrade and support his family, as well as recognize and remember 10 other law enforcement officers whose names were added to the, now more than 1,400 names on the memorial.

"I, along with several personnel from the Santa Clarita Valley Station, found this ceremonial event to be truly moving experience to both observe and be a part of, as we honored and paid tribute to Deputy Randy Hamson and the Hamson family," Captain La Berge said. "Our thoughts are with them always!"

After a long and hard-fought battle, Deputy Randy J. Hamson passed away on Friday, Oct. 24, 2008 as a result of injuries he sustained after being struck by a car on Saturday, Aug. 16, 2004. Deputy Hamson was on duty and protecting our community on Sierra Highway in the city of Santa Clarita when the tragic accident occurred.

Randy had been with the Department for just over five years. Sadly, Randy became the third deputy to be killed in the line of duty in Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station history.

His joined comrades Deputy Arthur E. Pelino, shot and killed in the line of duty by a mentally deranged suspect on March 19, 1978, and Deputy Hagop "Jake" Kuredjian, shot and killed in the line of duty while assisting the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms during the service of a search warrant on Friday, Aug. 31, 2001, in Stevenson Ranch.

The three deputies are now forever remembered and memorialized as true heroes who dedicated their lives, service and protection to Los Angeles County and the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station.

Throughout the month of May, Santa Clarita deputies will participate in several other memorial events in remembrance of Randy, fallen troops at home and abroad, and all the law enforcement officers who have been lost in the line of duty throughout our nation.

Deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station will travel to Washington, D.C., this week to support Randy's family at the National Peace Officers' Memorial Ceremony. Randy's name will be added to the Memorial's blue-gray marble walls, joining more than 17,500 law enforcement officers who have been killed in the line of duty.

Two motorcycle deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station will have the honor of escorting Randy's family members and the families of peace officers from throughout the nation who have lost their sons, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers or other loved ones in the line of duty. The deputies pay their own expenses to make the trip or travel on private donations provided by community members or organizations.

Station personnel will then be involved with the  Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's 2009 Memorial Torch Relay Run, which will begin at 9 a.m. on Friday, May 22 and will end on Sunday, May 24. The relay run covers 339 miles, starting from the Sherman Block Sheriff's Headquarters Building and traveling non-stop throughout the day and night to each mainland Sheriff's Station.

This year the memorial run will be in special honor of the Southern California officers listed below and all those throughout the nation who have given their lives in the protection of our communities and country.

The Memorial Torch is passed from teams of runners, bikers, walkers and joggers who devote their own time to honor the memories of all those who have fallen. The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station will run five legs of the Memorial Torch Relay Run covering 25.7 miles throughout the valley.

The torch will ultimately be used on Wednesday, May 27, at the 40th Annual Los Angeles County Peace Officers' Memorial Ceremony, held in the beautiful Memorial Park at the at the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department's Sheriff's Training Academy and Regional Services (STARS) Center in Whittier, to ignite the Peace Officers' Memorial Wall in tribute to fallen law enforcement officers.

Among the honorees are Deputy Randy J. Hamson and Deputy Juan A. Escalante from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Sheriff Lee Baca will preside over the ceremony to commemorate the lives of those peace officers who died in the line of duty while serving the residents of Los Angeles County.

Attending the memorial ceremony will be numerous federal, state and local dignitaries, in addition to family members, friends and coworkers of the fallen officers. The ceremony will include musical performances by members of law enforcement and the release of white doves on behalf of the fallen officers.

Those to be honored and remembered include:

* Deputy Juan A. Escalante, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department
End of Watch: Aug. 2, 2008

*Officer Spree DeSha, Los Angeles Police Department
EOW: Sept. 12, 2008

* Deputy Randy J. Hamson, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department
EOW: Oct.24, 2008

*Officer Joseph P. Sanders, California Highway Patrol, Santa Fe Springs
EOW: Dec. 15, 2008

* Lieutenant Curtis A. Massey, Culver City Police Department
EOW: Jan. 28, 2009

Bronze plaques with the names of all five officers will join the more than 470 law enforcement officers whose names are inscribed on the Memorial Wall to honor their dedication to duty and the ultimate sacrifice they made.

Officials will recognize the heroism of those who have died and law enforcement personnel will gather in unity to reinforce individual memories of those who we lost, and show unprecedented support for the families and friends that shows their deep sense of loss is shared with our law enforcement family.

Randy joined the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department on March 23, 1999 and graduated the Sheriff's Academy on Aug. 27, 1999. He worked at Pitchess Detention Center - East Facility until April 2003, and then began his patrol service at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station in April 2003.

Randy will always be remembered as a diligent and hard-working deputy. He was admired and respected by his fellow protectors and the community. He was a great partner, public servant and friend. He will truly be missed.

Until the accident, Randy resided in Simi Valley with his wife and their three children. Randy is also survived by his parents Jim and Carolyn Hamson, who reside in Paso Robles, his brother Tim Hamson, a Los Angeles City firefighter and former Los Angeles Police Department member, and his brother Mike Hamson, who resides in Washington.

His wife Cindy said what Randy always wanted to do was protect and serve the public -- like many, he lost his life fulfilling that dream.

Randy J. Hamson: honored and forever memorialized and remembered. Gone, but never forgotten.

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