On Wednesday, members of the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies participated in a tribute called ‘Ruck for the Fallen’ at the Missoula Law Enforcement Memorial in Rose Park.

Public Information Officer Jeannette Smith provided details of the ceremony.

“We believe that carrying the burden of loss in our rucksacks to be an honor,” said Smith. “It is with pride that we fully accept this task. It’s not about personal recognition, but our ability to honor those who have willfully placed themselves in harms way, or sacrificed their lives for everyone’s freedoms and way of life.”

Smith explained how this particular individual came to be honored as the flag makes its way across the country.

“Our request was for an individual in Texas named Melissa Roberts,” she said. “Roberts’ end of shift was March 16th, 2020. The flag originated in Lewiston, Idaho with the Idaho State Police. It was exchanged yesterday at the state line between the Idaho State Police and the Montana Highway Patrol and then brought to Missoula.”

She explained the journey the flag will make under the watchful eyes of fellow law enforcement officers.

“We participated in the exchange of the flag,” she said. “The flag rides in the front seat of whatever vehicle it’s being transported in. The flags are then provided and it is asked for law enforcement agencies to sign them. They travel across the country, and you can follow them on the Ruck for the Fallen website, and then are delivered to the family as part of their closure.”

Smith said the Ruck for the Fallen website has nomination forms for any fallen officer to be honored.

Missoula County Undersheriff Rich Maricelli appeared in a photo along with police officers and Highway Patrol troopers at the Law Enforcement Memorial in Rose Park.

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