TUPELO – Trooper Matthew Hood of the Mississippi Highway Patrol read a list of names of fallen Mississippi officers at Thursday’s memorial service and paused halfway, “My father, Master Sgt. Steve Hood.”
Hood is now a member of Highway Patrol Troop G in Starkville, the troop his father started with.
“Way before he died I knew I wanted to be a state trooper because he was my hero and I looked up to him for everything,” Hood said. “The job he did, I saw he enjoyed it and had a passion for it. I wanted to come home with that same feeling, that I had done something good.”
Steve Hood died in the line of duty May 29, 2009. His wife, Lisa Hood, still wears F3, his badge number, around her neck.
“He was a very dedicated state trooper and loved serving the state of Mississippi and I take comfort that he died in the line of duty because he died doing what he loved to do.”
Law enforcement officers, Survival Inc. representatives, Attorney General Jim Hood and the family members of fallen police officers honored those who have died in the line of duty at Fairpark.
Fred Watson of Okolona attended the ceremony in honor of his father, Okolona City Marshall Sam Watson, who was killed in the line of duty in 1973.
“It’s good for the fallen officers’ survivors but the best thing is that it recognizes the ones that are still out there doing the job,” Watson said. “We can’t tell them enough to say thank you.”
That is exactly what Jim Hood said the ceremony was for.
“We honor those who have died in the line but we’re also here to thank those who serve us every day and their families as well,” he said. “The families who watch their wife or husband or father or daughter go out that door and not know what will happen to them that day. They are also heroes.”
At the conclusion of the ceremony, balloons were passed out to family members and law enforcement agencies, for each of their fallen officers, and released into the sunset.