Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Badge #535 Signing off

As Sarah McLachlan's "In the Arms of an Angel" began, my eyes scanned the crowd. Lined along the street, like soldiers standing at attention were more then 300 law officers. They had come to show the earned respect of their fallen brother. Each badge they wore, held a black strip across their badge number. The families and visitors gathered outside the church, stood with tear swollen eyes and empty hearts as they too came to honor him for the man he was...and Sarah sang on......

In the arms of the angel, fly away from here
From this dark, cold hotel room and the endlessness that you fear
You are pulled from the wreckage of your silent reverie
your in the arms of the angel; may you find some comfort here.

Marching row after row into the church, the officers began the trek. The families were next to take the solemn steps into the coolness of the church. The 100 or more who could not fit inside stood outside, in the heat of the morning to listen and pay their respects.

There at the front of the church stood the flag draped casket. As the first person rose to approach the podium, the church fell silent, except for the sobs and the rolling salty tears, not a movement was made. Respect was being giving today to an officer of the law, a man who walked the 'thin blue line'. He walked it out of love, out of hope, and he walked it out of compassion for his fellow man. He was being honored today, because he had given his life for it.

As Sheriff Malone rose and took his turn at the podium, he told of his first impressions of the man who lay before him. He spoke of a gentle soul; one who made you feel at ease the moment he entered the room. A man who spread warmth with his smile, and laughter with his antics. A man of honor and compassion; one who carried a true joy for life. A man everyone loved and respected.
The church smiled as they nodded their agreement, they knew the man he spoke of. He spoke of an officer on his force, badge #535 and his name was Dennis Compton. This was the man we honored today.

Dennis had responded to a 'code 7'; a burglar alarm, early on a Wednesday morning. He was gunned down upon arrival. One single shot below the protective vest he wore and his life ebbed away as he lay on the ground. His comrades arriving within minutes, still too late, the shot was fatal.
As Sheriff Malone stood looking out at the attendants, he fell silent. His next words sent a chill through the crowd as hearts sank, and tears were shed. "From here on in, so that we can always remember our fallen brother, a code 7 will forever be.... code 535. The badge number of Dennis Compton." The church walls shook. Sheriff Malone turned and with heavy feet and a bowed head, took his seat.

Next up at the podium was his cousin and brother on the force, Tony Buchanan. Tony called forth another cousin, Ashley. As she rose from her seat, she paused at the first row to take the hand of Dennis's daughter Tabby, together they walked the steps and together they stood as Ashley read, the Policeman's Prayer. She cleared the tears from her throat the best she could and softly began;


The policeman stood and faced his God,
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining
Just as brightly as his brass.

"Step forward now, Policeman.
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To my Church have you been true?"

The policeman squared his shoulders and said,
"No, Lord I guess I ain't,
Because those of us who carry badges
Can't always be a Saint.

I've had to work most Sundays,
And at times my work was rough,
and sometimes I've been violent,
Because the streets are awfully tough.

But I never took a penny,
That wasn't mine to keep,
I worked a lot of overtime
When the bills just got too steep.

And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place
among the people here.
They never wanted me around
Except to calm their fear.

If you've a place for me here, Lord
It needn't be so grand.
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was silence all around the Throne
Where the Saints had often trod.
As the policeman waited quietly,
For the judgement of his God.

"Step forward now, policeman,
You've borne your burdens well.
Come walk a beat on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell."

Author Unknown

As the last line of the poem filled the air, the crowd fell silent and the very walls of the church seemed to gasp a breath of sadness. The congregation wept.
They descended the steps in solemn quiet, crying silent tears and returned to their seats among the many gathered there.

Tony took a minute to return to the podium.
He told of life long dreams and childhood schemes between the two of them.
They were the Starsky and Hutch of the neighborhood, playing cops and robbers day in and day out. Sadly, they were both cops with no robbers, but they soon found one, in Dennis' little brother Timmy. He never argued about being the bad guy, he played along. Starsky and Hutch wouldn't have it any other way.
Both had dreamed of becoming police officers and they finally accomplished that dream not too many months ago here in Colleton County. Working the same beats, traveling the same roads and at one point, driving the same car.
They really were the good guys now, wearing a real badge, carrying a real gun and facing real danger. A danger that was accepted every time that uniform was donned, every day they signed in to work, every hour in the streets...without fail.
They loved their job, it was their life. This badge of gold was worn with respect. This badge of gold was worn with pride.

Together they walked that thin blue line, together they kept us safe. Together they will still walk the beat because badge 535 will always be riding along.
With his head lowered, Tony left the podium.

Reverend Zane Brown, Colleton County Sheriff's Office chaplain stood to preside over the service. As part of his service, he spoke these words: "Two people made a choice on Wednesday morning, August 6. Deputy Dennis Compton made a choice to put on a badge and go to work. Someone else made a choice on Wednesday morning, August 6, to burglarize a home and when confronted by the man sworn to protect the people and their property, this person chose to gun him down, a man who's intention, desire and commission was to make this world a better place."

As Reverend Brown concluded, he thanked those assembled as he reminded everyone "We need more people like Dennis standing on the thin blue line between order and anarchy."

The bagpipes began their long mournfull wail as the fallen officer was carried to the waiting courtyard beyond and the mourners exited the church. The 300 officers in attendance marched out, resuming their post in the street. As the families slowly made their way to the courtyard the guards took their place and stood their ground.
The 21 gun salute rang out.
The cries tore through the crowd as the lone sound of a trumpet played Taps. The flag that had covered this officer of the law was folded and presented to his widow.
A final sound rang out through the crowd as he was being entered into the hearse:
The police radio gave the two tone emergency signal as the dispatcher asked for badge number 535 to respond. Again the sound was repeated and again the dispatcher asked for badge number 535 to respond. Finally the tones rang out one more time and this time, the dispatcher said

"Badge #535, signing off"

We wept.

In memory of
Deputy Dennis Carl Compton
Badge #535
Colleton County Sheriffs Department

End of watch: 08-06-08

"Mama take this badge off of me...I can't use it anymore"

I apologize to all who have waited for this. I had a hard time with it. As most of you know, Dennis was my nephew and one time roommate. We shared a larger then life life, I will miss my friend.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Danville in Pictures

A Southern Virginia Trip

As most of you know, we spent this past weekend in Danville, Virginia, looking and adventuring for a possible move.
We had a good time, viewed much of the area and learned a little about Danville. So..here's your lesson for today on Danville, Va.

Danville is located in south central Virginia, on the North Carolina/Virginia border. Population appx. 46,000+ in Danville proper, but Pittsylvania County accommodates more then 61, 000.

First settled in 1792 and named Wynne's Falls after the first settler, it was renamed Danville in 1793. Danville is also called the city of churches because it has more churches per square mile than any other city in the state of Virginia and hosts the Danville Braves baseball club of the Appalachian League.
For more information on Danville, here are two sites that will give you loads
Wikipedia and of course, the Images site on Danville. GREAT pics! Visit the Images site for some cool information!

There are many nice areas around Danville as well; Chatham, Martinsville and in NC: Eden, Yanceyville and even Greensboro is not far. Danville is 140 miles from Richmond, VA and 279 miles from Washington, D.C.

We took a few of our own pics of course, so enjoy the small slide show above of downtown Danville.

Beyond touring Danville on Monday (while Scott was taking his pre-job employment test) We ventured far and wide on Sunday. Since North Carolina is within the mileage limits we discussed for possible living places, we ventured into Yanceyville, North Carolina. Now, just outside of Yanceyville there is "Yancey House".

Yancey House a restaurant with a 'punch'!. It was time for lunch, so we stopped in. But we had our reasons!

Yancey House grabbed our attention, because, well folks, it's purple! Yep, I said that right..PURPLE! Check this out!

So, join us as we visit "YANCEY HOUSE"!

Now, according to Ashley, our waitress, when I asked about Yancey House, she told us it's supposed to be 'confederate gray'.....according to the label on the paint can that was purchased at one of the 'do it yourself home repair places'.....(lol). Well, I've never seen gray like that!

HOWEVER, all that said and done, Yancey House was GREAT! We were not too hungry, so ordered a lite fare of appetizers, one for each of us and then a salad bar. It was YUM!
I ordered the oysters, hubby ordered the crab cakes!

The food was delicious, really, and Ashley was very knowledgeable about Yancey House. I asked questions and learned a few things!
When we had finished our lunch, we bellied up to the bar for an after lunch drink and enjoyed conversation with Ashley and her partner in crime (and we did not find out her name..sorry). In the bar, a decoration caught my eye and I had to snap a picture of it, thinking...hmm..I drink enough wine to make one of these! (a small one, but none the less!) Yancey House has character, and if you're ever in the area, we recommend a visit.

Yancy House does have it's own website, so visit and take a look at the gardens and the pictures. You can find it at "Yancey House" I hope you enjoy your visit. :) We did.

As we were leaving Yancey House, someone caught out attention. Heading back to Little Red we heard a loud "meooow"..loud yes, but it came from a small cat. Take a look at the little tike that tried to follow us home! We dubbed him Yancey, just for fun!

He was determined to go home with us, kept following Scott!

We sure do hope you've enjoyed visiting 'Danville' and the surrounding areas with us! Come back soon..looks like next time round, it'll be Lynchburg, Va!

Ohhhh Ohhhh!! Wait just a minute..I have to show you this.

While perusing the area in Danville, we came upon a shopping center..that had a name that we just were kinda amazed at. Check this out:

This is honest.....the name of the plaza is Tightsqueeze Plaza (HUH!?)

Now..of course, you wouldn't imagine a plaza with this name being on ANY other road ..then this.............

Think you've had enough?? Ohhh no! I got one more. The cross road for Tightsqueeze Rd.......is.......(GET READY!....ARE YOU READY?)

At least I know, someone in Danville has a sense of humor! LOL

Till next time..down on the farm!

Sunday, August 3, 2008


No pics yet, but you'll never guess where I am?? In Danville Va.! We've traveled from home (SC) to Danville yesterday evening, and have ventured far and wide between Va. and NC today. (looking at possible homes to buy and or land, should the new job come through for us)

We had lunch at the coolest place "The Yancy House" ..it's a GREAT..Fantastic PURPLE restaurant..(..Big..antebellum farmhouse type place redone as a restaurant) I've got pics inside and out and will share as soon as I return! The food was to die for but even better was the people. They were great! Our waitress Ashley was too cool. There is a website and I will be sharing the web addy as soon as I return to post pics.

I'm posting now from the Holiday Inn Express in Danville, that sits overlooking the Danville River. (of course, we lucked out.....PFFFT..and got a room on the front..overlooking..the ROAD!)..we'll have to dream of looking out the window at the river for now. Either way, the hotel has been nice, conviently located for us..and the area has TONS of wide open spaces ..farm country everywhere..something I miss. SO..keep your fingers crossed that hubby lands this job. He's back in the room studying as we speak..and I'm out front..playing on the hotels computer! LOL..

A big thank you goes out to Ashley and Brayden for coming to our rescue for this trip and staying out at the farm for us and tending the critters while we roam the countryside!

Have a great weekend everyone! See you on Tuesday!