Name of Concord lieutenant, deputy sheriff to join 49 other fallen officers honored on state memorial

  • Tracy Callahan, daughter of fallen Deputy Sheriff Donald E. Callahan, gets a hug from Master of Ceremonies Col. Kevin Jordan on Friday.

  • Police officers bow their heads as Chaplain Gerald Goncalo recites the closing prayer at the 27th annual New Hampshire Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial ceremony on Friday on North State Street in Concord. GEOFF FORESTER photos / Monitor staff

  • Winn Hayes places a red carnation on the memorial wreath in honor of his father Lt. Ivan B. Hayes. Hayes has attended nearly every New Hampshire memorial service in Concord since they began 27 years ago. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 5/17/2019 4:55:25 PM
Modified: 5/17/2019 4:55:11 PM

Beautiful. Touching. Humbling.

For Tracy Callahan, those were the first words that came to mind as she watched with tears in her eyes scores of uniformed police officers march past the New Hampshire Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial during a ceremony Friday. At the 27th annual event, her father was honored for the first time, and later this summer his name will be engraved on the memorial in front of the state’s Legislative Office Building, joining dozens of other officers who lost their lives in the line of duty.

“I’m very honored and proud to be here and to witness this,” Laconia resident Tracy Callahan said underneath a tent set up on Capital Street to shelter surviving family members from the early-morning rain. “He was everything to me.”

Retired Concord police Lt. Donald Callahan died of a heart attack in October 1993 while participating in a mandatory physical agility test at Memorial Field in the city. Donald Callahan was employed with the Merrimack County Sheriff’s Office at the time and had plans to work as a court bailiff.

“He was a single father raising me, a sometimes rebellious teenager, and I know it wasn’t easy,” Tracy Callahan said.

Donald Callahan was hired by the Concord Police Department in June 1966. He’d decided to become a law enforcement officer after returning from service in the U.S. Army, his daughter said. He remained with the department until January 1990 after serving for more than two decades.

When her father’s name was called Friday morning, she joined longtime family friend Gaye Wagner in choosing a red carnation to add to a wreath as other surviving family members of fallen officers had done before her. In total, 50 names were read by New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon MacDonald, who also honored officers who died off duty, officers who died on duty in another state, and all those past and present who have served the state.

Friday’s ceremony drew police officers from throughout the state, as well as their family members, politicians and members of the public to the grounds of the Legislative Office Building. Gov. Chris Sununu delivered the ceremony’s keynote address during which he called upon everyone to take time out of their day to thank an officer for his or her service and to keep them in their minds throughout the year.

“We’re essentially asking those who stand with us today to be EMTs, to be mental health professionals, to be able to resolve domestic violence issues, to be a shoulder to cry on, and at the same moment, in any given moment, be able to stand for us and protect the tens of thousands of families that rely on them every single day. That’s an amazing obligation that we place upon them – an amazing responsibility that we’re putting on their shoulders, day in and day out,” Sununu told the large crowd. “So, conversely, we have to accept that responsibility upon ourselves. What are we going to do to honor them?”

Approximately 158 local, state and federal officers died in the line of duty in 2018, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. There are now 21,910 officers’ names engraved on the national memorial in Washington, D.C., spanning 233 years.

New Hampshire’s memorial includes line-of-duty deaths dating back to 1886 and as recent as 2014.

On both the national and state memorial is the name of New Hampshire State Police Lt. Ivan B. Hayes. His son, Winn Hayes, has attended nearly every New Hampshire memorial service in Concord since they began 27 years ago; the only time he didn’t was the year his father’s name was added to the memorial in D.C. Ivan Hayes died on the job in 1959.

“He made the ultimate sacrifice,” Winn Hayes said. “I return each year to honor his memory and the lives of all who have fallen.”

(Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 369-3319 or at adandrea@cmonitor.com.)



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