ELMORE CO., AL (WSFA) - Three men, three deputies, and three heroes. They were all remembered Thursday under a bright sun by Elmore County Sheriff Bill Franklin, who unveiled the first memorial dedicated solely to the fallen at the sheriff's office.
"He was murdered at the young age of 34," Franklin said as he read from the bio of former deputy Andrew Mulder, murdered in 1917.
Three deputies have died in the line of duty in the history of the office dating back to the early 1800s.
Deputy William McCain was killed by gunfire on Oct. 6, 1906. Acting Sheriff Andrew Mulder was killed by gunfire on Jan. 26, 1917. Deputy James Bart Hart died in a vehicle crash on Nov. 23, 2014.
Eleven members of Andrew Mulder's family attended the memorial, as did former Tallassee Mayor George McCain, whose great-grandfather was ambushed more than 100 years ago this month.
"You know it was true to life to realize the sacrifice he made, left nine children behind," McCain said. "Everyday, you just never know."
The portraits of the men appear above their respective story on the granite marker.
"My heart was just broken of losing Bart. It's a hole that never closes," said Gloria 'Jo' Hart of losing her son, Deputy Bart Hart.
Sheriff Franklin said the monument has been two years in the making. Today, it became a reality. It costs $7,000 and weighs 6,000 pounds.
The memorial sits in front the Elmore County Jail, all by design, according to the sheriff.
"As the public comes by and they see that, they'll be able to read the story of each man. Maybe this will cause people to reflect and really think about what these men and women uniform do everyday," Franklin said.
The lives of three men tell the story of sacrifice and courage under fire. The sheriff hopes he will never have to add another one.
The families of the fallen deputies were given an American flag and a plaque. Multiple law enforcement agencies and area fire departments attended the memorial.