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Slain Burns chief remembered

Staff writer

Former Burns police chief Stephen Evans received a hero’s farewell Saturday when a trailer bearing his photo, along with photos of other officers who died in the line of duty over the past year, made a stop at Burns as part of a 79-day nationwide tour.

At 12:30 p.m., the End of Watch Ride to Remember trailer was escorted into Burns by 19 motorcycles. It passed under a flag, then past Butler and Marion County emergency responders with emergency lights flashing, and turned onto Burns’ Main St. for an observation in memory of Evans.

Evans had been a full-time Butler County deputy for a year and part-time Burns police chief for six months before his death last October. He was on duty for Burns when he crashed on US-77 a mile north of I-35.

Speakers at a ceremony in the downtown park that now are named Stephen Evans Park included Burns mayor Mike Hammon, new police chief Joel Womochil, and Butler County Sheriff Monty Hughey.

Evans’s widow, Andrea, and children Nicolas, Adrian, and Alycia received a plaque from the city before Andrea broke ground for a memorial to be built for Evans.

Lt. Kevin Kichler of the Butler County sheriff’s department wrote, “I was there on his first shift and on his last shift,” on Evans’s memorial.

“He was overall a good deputy,” Hughey said. “I didn’t have any complaints or problems. He was just proficient. He went out and did his job. He was a loving husband and father, and always did things with his kids.”

Womochil spoke about Evans’s qualities.

“General George Patton said it is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died,” Womochil said. “Rather we should thank God for the men who lived.”

A crowd of 300 people attended the event.

The 79-day, 23,000-mile End of Watch Ride to Remember began and ended in Spokane, Washington. Besides Burns, the ride included a stop at Rossville.

Last modified Aug. 18, 2022

 

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