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Basketball game honors fallen officers

Special Photo
Henry County Sheriff's Deputy Levester Sims (center) shoots a basketball during a game with members of the Henry County Police Department. Representatives from the two agencies will take the court again Saturday, in memory of law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty.

Special Photo Henry County Sheriff's Deputy Levester Sims (center) shoots a basketball during a game with members of the Henry County Police Department. Representatives from the two agencies will take the court again Saturday, in memory of law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty.

By Jason A. Smith

jsmith@henryherald.com

Law enforcement officers in Henry County will trade their uniforms for basketball jerseys, shorts and tennis shoes this weekend, in memory of their fallen co-workers.

The Seventh Annual Blue vs. Brown Memorial Exhibition Basketball Game is set for Saturday at 4 p.m., at Dutchtown High School. The event will honor local police officers and deputies, as well as military personnel, who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

"This game will have special meaning because we just lost another officer [Jimmy Carter]," said Henry County Magistrate Court Judge Martin Jones. "That's what it's all about, is to honor them."

Carter, a Henry County Police officer, was involved in a fatal wreck in Butts County on his way to work April 20.

For the second straight year, Jones will be on the Sheriff's Office's team. He is an avid basketball fan, and is looking forward to playing in memory of law enforcement personnel.

Sheriff's Deputy Walter Woolfork, a coordinator of the basketball game on behalf of his agency, said the loss of Carter, in particular, will likely be on the minds of players in the game.

"Whenever you lose someone you work with, it stays with you," Woolfork said. "It changes the dynamics of what you do, the way you see people and the way you look at things."

The game, the deputy continued, not only enables officers and deputies to pay tribute to their fallen co-workers, but to build "camaraderie" among themselves.

"It's a chance for us to be around each other as people," Woolfork said. "We see each other in passing 90 percent of the time, but don't get to just interact with each other."

The deputy added that his agency has nine players who are scheduled to participate in the game, compared with 10 to 12 players representing the police department. Unlike past Blue vs. Brown games, Woolfork said, Saturday's event will be an exhibition only, and not a fund-raiser for families of law enforcement officers.

Admission to the game is free. For more details, call the police department at (770) 288-8200, or Woolfork at (770) 288-7071.

In addition to Carter, others in law enforcement being honored include Henry Police Sgt. Jimmy Gilbert, who died in a work-related collision in 2004; Henry Police Officer Chuck Haist, who was killed in an on-duty crash in 2005, and Henry Sheriff's Deputy Marvin Scarlett, who lost his life in a 2007 accident.