Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

May 14, 2013

McDowell police memorial week to honor local fallen Officer Wellman

WELCH — Law enforcement officers across McDowell County will be paying tribute to one of their own this week during the annual Memorial Parade of Lights and Policeman’s Memorial Motorcycle Ride.

“This year it is in honor of Officer Shaun Wellman, who passed away three weeks ago,” Patrolman Patrick McKinney, of the Welch Police Department, said. “Any money generated from this event will go to the Wellman family this year.”

Wellman, 32, of Big Sandy, died May 5 at Charleston Area Medical Center following an ATV accident on Belcher Mountain in McDowell County.

“We’ve been lucky in our first three memorial celebrations that we honored or helped officers from other counties and even other states,” McKinney said. “But our luck ran out this year and we lost one of our own. Because it is one of our own, it is much more important for us to show respect and make sure everything is done right.”

The parade of lights begins Friday at 8 p.m. at the National Guard Armory on Stewart Street in Welch. The parade lineup starts at 7:30 p.m. All area police, fire and EMS units are invited and encouraged to participate in the parade.

McKinney said the parade will run down and around downtown Welch. It will stop at the Martha Moore Riverfront Park where a small memorial service will be held. Also Friday, a reception and dinner for area police officers and their families will be held at the Welch Police Department beginning at 6 p.m.

The police week activities will continue Saturday with the memorial motorcycle ride, also being held this year in honor of Wellman’s memory. The motorcycle ride lineup will begin Saturday at noon at the Goodson’s Supermarket/Wendy’s parking lot in Welch on Route 52.

“All area motorcycle riders are asked to come out and show their support for fallen police officers, and especially Officer Shaun Wellman and his family,” McKinney said.

The motorcycle riders will then stop at between 12:30 and 12:45 p.m. at the Bantam Market in Welch before traveling up Route 52 and to the city park in Bluefield. The group is expected to arrive at the city park in Bluefield between 2:15 and 2:30 p.m.

“Those supporting or wanting to show their respect are asked to line the parade route Friday night, and also the motorcade route on Saturday, or they can come to the Bantam or the city park in Bluefield,” McKinney said. “This is done in conjunction with National Police Memorial Week. There is no fee to ride. If anybody wants to donate to the cause — the Police Memorial Fund — they can. They can contact the Welch Police Department or bring the money to the Bantam, or to the city park in Bluefield on the day of the ride. This is the fourth year for the parade. Support has been great through the years, but we hope it will be a little extra this year because again we’ve lost one of our own.”

— Contact Charles Owens at cowens@bdtonline.com

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