HOWARD COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) — The Howard County community honored the life of a deputy shot and killed in the line of duty with a memorial bridge.
Deputy Carl Koontz died from his injuries while serving a warrant in Russiaville in March.
His widow, Kassie Koontz, has been finding ways to honor her husband’s memory in the community. She said she approached the city commissioner with the idea for a memorial bridge.
“I’m feeling proud actually just because we finally got it, I didn’t think it was going to be this big,” said Kassie Koontz.
Surrounded by family and friends, Koontz and her one-year-old son Noah unveiled a sign for the bridge near Markland and Park Avenue.
“I think Noah is going to appreciate it really,” she said. “I think he’ll be honored to drive across the bridge when he’s 16.”
The dedication ceremony was very emotional at times for Koontz and her family. She told 24-Hour News 8 she wants people to feel honored when they cross the bridge and to never forget the sacrifice. The bridge is now called the “Deputy Carl A. Koontz Memorial Bridge.”
“This bridge in particular is where every deputy drives by to go to the Howard County Sheriff’s Department,” she said, “It’s close to home, there’s a four-way stop so it has the slowest traffic where people can take the moment to look at the sign.”
The bridge is just down the street from the Howard County Sheriff’s Department. Hundreds of people drive across the bridge every day, including law enforcement.
“It gives us older officers, as new officers come along, the opportunity to remind them who Carl was and also remind them what their job means,” said Sheriff Steven Rogers, Howard County Sheriff’s Department.
Dozens of people from the community came out to show their appreciation, among the crowd Deputy Jordan Buckley.
“There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about him,” said Deputy Buckley. “Every one of our squad cars has one has his picture on the back of it.”
Buckley was injured the night of the shooting when they served the warrant in Russiaville. He said driving over the bridge in his patrol car will mean so much more.
“I think it’s going to have a significant role in my day make sure that’s just always in the back of my mind,” he said. “I’m always making sure I’m doing the right thing for the right reasons to continue his legacy.”
Indiana Going Blue is presenting a special gift to the family of Deputy Koontz this weekend.
Organizers will give his son and wife a quilt made out of uniform patches. The patches were sent in from different law enforcement and fire departments across the country.
For more on Deputy Carl Koontz, click here.