LONE GROVE, Okla. (KXII) - The Ardmore Fraternal Order of Police, FOP, is getting one step closer to honoring every fallen police officer in Carter County, going back as far as the 1900s.
A monument maker begins work on a fallen officer tribute by creating markers to recognize Ardmore police officers killed in the line of duty.
"It's a pretty special feeling to be a part of it,” said Zain Gossvener, “to help recognize these men who gave the ultimate sacrifice help our community overtime.”
Ardmore, OK FOP Lodge 108 reached out to Gossvender, who operates Monuments by Zain, to create memorial markers for nine fallen Ardmore police officers.
Ardmore Police Sergeant Chris Mata said most were killed while paying the ultimate sacrifice.
"It means a lot. You know the graves are just out there no marking on them that say they were first responders or that they've died in the line of duty,” said Sergeant Mata.
The project came to fruition in November 2019, to clean up the fallen officers graves at Rose Hill and Hillcrest cemeteries, and then provide a monument marker displaying their agency and end of watch date.
"And these guys right here gave it all for everybody,” Gossvener said. "Some people don't care about that.”
Gossvener, a Healdton volunteer firefighter, said he offered to make the markers for free.
“I’d rather not get paid for it. To be able to get something out there for them, I feel like I’m doing my part,” said Gossvener.
Gossvener said it takes around five minutes to carve out the lettering through a sand blaster. After the letters are craved, he puts on the final touches by painting the letters by hand and brushing a blue stripe on each marker.
"It's been a team effort and it's coming to a close. It would be nice to get them all completed when we get them all set,” said Sergeant Mata.
Seven markers are still in the works, and Sergeant Mata said the FOP will place the markers in the months to come.