Sunday, May 25, 2003

Fallen Ky. officer remembered

Mourned as law enforcer, friend

By Susan Vela
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[IMAGE] The funeral procession for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Officer Doug Bryant, who died Monday, proceeds down Dixie Highway in Fort Mitchell on Saturday.
(Associated Press photo)
| ZOOM |
LUDLOW - Douglas W. Bryant was a dedicated Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Resources officer with a passion for boating, others who knew him say.

As a father, he would sometimes wear an Indian headdress to please his daughter, Kiana, 16.

More than 300 friends, relatives and fellow law enforcement officials packed the pews of First Baptist Church Saturday to mourn the 62-year-old Villa Hills man who died Monday.

Bryant crashed his truck while chasing a car he had stopped for a traffic offense along Interstate 71/75 in Fort Mitchell. Lloyd C. Robinson, 56, of Florence, faces charges of second-degree manslaughter and first-degree fleeing and evading police.

Bryant's death marked the first time since 1987 that a wildlife and boating officer, who is a sworn officer with arrest powers, was killed in the line of duty.

In a church bedecked with flags and redolent from flowers, Bryant's widow, Sherry, shared a poem about those who choose a career in law enforcement. "I have been where you feared to be. I have seen what you fear to see," she read, her voice a notch above a whisper. "All these things I have done for you. But, in the end, I'm just a man, just like you."

Bryant's colleagues sat shoulder-to-shoulder in the pews, their arms sometimes crossed behind each other.

"We're here to honor a very special life," Pastor Roger High said in his eulogy. "What a tremendous man, who served so well. Doug would not want anyone in his place. That's really what brings us here today. It's the honor and the life of Doug.

"If you put your life in harm's way, you're there for a greater reason than yourself. He did it with the highest regard. He did it with true honor and he did it for all the right reasons."

After the funeral, many stood outside the church and saluted the hearse that carried Bryant's casket to Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Erlanger.The procession stretched several miles.

In Erlanger, Gene Blanchet walked slowly toward the grave. For years, the Southgate councilman, Bryant and several others shared their breakfast hour at a Frisch's counter in Fort Wright. Frisch's staff promises to mark Bryant's old chair with a nameplate.

Meanwhile, Blanchet and the rest of the "Frisch's Breakfast Club" want their buddy back. "It's been kind of quiet," he said. "Everybody's been pretty much in mourning there, too."

Earl Buckler, a Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Resources officer who took Bryant under his wing 14 years ago, drove from Greenup County to say a final goodbye. He came to the funeral, he said, "for a brother who made the ultimate sacrifice."

Memorials can be made to the Kiana Bryant Educational Fund, care of Heritage Bank, 1911 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011.


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