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Troop M honors fallen brethren

Active duty and retired Pennsylvania State Police officers united ranks May 2 in front of their red brick barracks in Hanover Township, Lehigh County, to honor their dead. Family members and guests came in support.

The men and women were there for the Pennsylvania State Police Memorial Day ceremony hosted by Troop M, Bethlehem, headquarters commanded by Captain Richard H. D’Ambrosio.

In a landscaped garden beside the entrance to the barracks facing Airport Road stood framed photographs of the officers killed in the line of duty since the Pennsylvania State Police were founded in 1905. There have been 111 officers killed in the line of duty, according to the Officer Down website.

D’Ambrosio lauded the valor of the fallen officers who, he said, were driven by a “will to win out over evil.”

“Their actions were a credit to the department,” D’Ambrosio said.

Addressing the assembled, uniformed officers, he praised their “constant courage and dedication to duty. You have a history wrought with bravery.”

Lydia Wilson, of Cherryville, sang the national anthem as the American flag fluttered in the breeze. Bryan Gerhab, of TAPS over Bethlehem, provided the bugle music. Eugene Kutzler, of Northampton, played bagpipe music.

Pastor Paul Randolph and the Rev. Anthony Guerrero offered prayers for the service.

Retired Pennsylvania State Policeman Lt. Col. Robert G. Werts led five men tasked with reading the names of all of the officers killed in the line of duty. Werts is also a member of the Marine Corps League, Bethlehem Detachment 284.

Capt. Brian S. Tobin, Lt. Edgardo A. Colon, Lt. Edward Murphy and Trooper Thomas Durilla all read part of the list of names.

Colon, who retired in 2012, is currently the chief of police for Upper Macungie Township.

Toward the end of the ceremony, retired officers joined their uniformed fellows in formation and recited the State Police Call of Honor. Every officer is required to memorize the creed, which concludes with the pledge “to be of service to anyone who may be in danger or distress and at all times so conduct myself that the honor of the force may be upheld.”

Recently retired officers Master Trooper Marc Allen, of Breinigsville, and Master Trooper Thomas Bellesfield, of Bethlehem, were recognized with certificates attesting to 25 years of honorable service for each.

Lydia Wilson, of Cherryville, sings the national anthem during the Pennsylvania State Police Memorial Day ceremony, held May 2 at Troop M, Bethlehem, headquarters.