RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Hundreds of names of officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty are carved on the walls of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. each year.
This year there were 619 new names.
It includes Knightdale police officer Ryan Hayworth. He was killed in 2021 when his patrol car was hit by a suspected drunk driver.
“I had to do it. I mean it is just; his story was so important and realizing that he wasn’t on that monument. His name has not been carved into that wall,” said Alicia Stemper.
Stemper is with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. She realized recently that another name should be there too.
His name was D. Joseph Nichols.
Nichols was a deputy with the sheriff’s office. Almost 118 years ago, while attempting to serve a warrant, he shot him in the arm. The bullet severed an artery.
Nichols died. He was 44 years old.
“His parents were alive. Of course, his wife was alive. He had four daughters. The youngest had just had her third birthday,” Stemper explained.
She helped get his name engraved on the memorial wall in D.C.
Ahead of Friday’s candlelight vigil at the National Mall, Stemper and one of Nichols’ great grandchildren, visited the museum.
“There he was on the wall. This picture we sent them. This picture we have been talking about. Both of us were just choked up for this man we never met,” she said.
Nichols’ and Hayworth’s names were read aloud during the candlelight vigil.
Another great grandchild was able to make it to D.C.
As far as Officer Hayworth, his family, friends and some Knightdale police officers were able to make the trip too.