by Benjamin Bell, (2001-2004)
In January, SHGTUS received a request to train the Tampa, Florida based Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) Honor Guard.
Back in 2012, several of the officers from the HCSO had trained with the active Tomb Guard component down at the Quarters, and they were looking to brush up on their training and wanted an assessment and tips on the ceremonies surrounding the flag fold over a casket.
We reached out to former Sentinel John Baker (2008-12). John recently left the service and started as a police officer for the City of Tampa Police Department. He really enjoyed the opportunity to provide the county force with recommendations and tips – if for nothing more than interdepartmental bragging rights! On March 4th, John and I met with the HCSO team and spent the day with them assessing and doing some team building. It was a good time and pretty easy, since they already looked pretty darn good!
Tragically, eight days later, HCSO lost their 16th officer in the line of duty when Deputy John Kotfila was killed in the line of duty on March 12th. It was truly an honor to provide Tomb Guards and SHGTUS members for this unique opportunity.