Editorial: How a community honors their fallen heroes

It's been a year since tragedy rocked the Americus community.

On Wednesday, December 7th, 2016, Americus Police Officer Nick Smarr and Georgia Southwestern Safety Officer Jody Smith responded to a domestic violence dispute.

That call would be their last.

Both officers were shot at the scene. Smarr died from his injuries that day, while Smith hung on until Thursday.

In the year that has past, we've learned much about the two men.

We know that Smarr and Smith were best friends, and their families and fellow officers considered them heroes.

We've also seen how the Americus community has rallied together to honor their memory.

A 'Back the Blue' movement surged in Americus and Sumter County following the shooting.

Since then, a foundation was set up in the officers' names to raise money for law enforcement in the area.

It has already given back, with a donation of Tasers to the Sumter County Sheriff's Office last month.

Georgia Southwestern State University renamed its public safety building the "Nicholas Smarr & Jody Smith Memorial Building" as a way to honor the officers' legacy.

And, a man from Sumter County was instrumental in getting a 'Back the Badge' license plate approved that Georgia drivers can now purchase.

While we know these men will never be forgotten by the loved ones they left behind, we have seen the impact their loss has left on their community.

Today, we honor and remember Nick Smarr and Jody Smith.

Copyright 2017 WALB. All rights reserved.

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