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Slain officers' names join police memorial during solemn service

TAMPA — Two names. Two names at once, added to a list of fallen officers already too long.

Officer David L. Curtis

June 29, 2010

Officer Jeffrey A. Kocab

June 29, 2010

Sara Kocab approached the granite memorial and pulled off the stencil covering her husband's freshly engraved name. She stood tall and tearless.

Then Kelly Curtis approached with one of her four sons. She helped him reach to pull off the stencil. His head drooped, his young face stoic.

The two widows embraced police Chief Jane Castor and Mayor Pam Iorio.

Then Sara Kocab sat down and sobbed.

• • •

Kocab and Curtis, shot early Tuesday morning, are the 30th and 31st Tampa police officers killed in the line of duty.

More than 200 people, including about three dozen of the officers' family members, attended the ceremony Thursday evening at the Roll Call of Honor memorial, which stands at the entrance of Tampa police headquarters, 411 N Franklin St.

Castor spoke of Curtis, a family man whom everyone knew and loved. He was always in the middle of the action.

Then she talked of Kocab, who often acted "mushy" around his wife. They did everything together, she said.

"There is nothing we can do or say to take away your pain," she said. "All we can do is promise that we will stay by your side."

• • •

Engraver Cecil Murray brought out his equipment earlier in the afternoon. It was too soon. Just 10 months earlier, he had etched Cpl. Michael J. Roberts' name into the tall memorial.

Murray, of Plant City, has engraved all of the names on the memorial, so on Thursday he knew just what to do. From measuring its placement and sweeping the base, he was done in 20 minutes.

About a dozen people watched, including Kathleen and Lee Taylor, who traveled from Holiday to deliver yellow mums.

"It's a beautiful memorial," Kathleen Taylor, 66, said. "It's just sad that their names have to be on there."

Six miles down the road, another freshly placed memorial recognized the fallen officers. Robin Mattson, a 53-year-old Riverview resident, drove by the spot where the officers were shot at 50th Street and E 23rd Avenue and noticed something was missing.

Late Thursday morning, she brought two wreaths with red, white and blue flowers. Each had a banner reading, "Some gave all."

"I just want to let them know in some small way that we appreciate what they do," Mattson said, tearing up. "We don't say thank you enough."

Times staff writer Danny Valentine contributed to this report.

Slain officers' names join police memorial during solemn service 07/01/10 [Last modified: Friday, July 2, 2010 9:48am]
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