Officer Receives Honor After 62 Years

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The state of Georgia held a memorial service and road dedication ceremony for a fallen officer after over 60 years. Georgia State Patrol Officer Clyde Wehunt received honors after being involved in a fatal patrol car crash that took place on April 20, 1951. Years later, Wehunt’s son, Richard, and his family attended a ceremony to honor Officer Wehunt’s career and life.

Clyde Wehunt attended Canton High School in Canton, GA. He played football and was on the state champion team three times. After high school, with his dreams of a college education diminished by his father’s passing, Wehunt joined the military. After his service in World War II, he returned home and decided that he wanted to be a state trooper. His military service made him a prime candidate for the job. Clyde’s son, JB, recalls his mother being supportive of her husband’s desires but was unhappy about having to move away from home [to Blue Ridge] to perform this job.

In a video played during the ceremony, Richard recalled his father’s life. He said they lived in a small white house across from McDonald’s in Blue Ridge.

“They haven’t changed it much”

he said. He also recalled spending their extra time hunting, fishing and riding through the mountains. These were his father’s favorite activities. Clyde is remembered as being good to the kids and easy to get along with. This GSP enjoyed everything about the job, including the uniform with the exception of the hat.

“He hated his hat”

Richard said as he laughed. Richard continued that his favorite memory that he has of his father was the big Christmas’ they had when he was a child. “There were always lots of toys for the kids” he said.

After recollecting on his life, Clyde’s GSP career was reflected upon. During his career he was involved in a case that involved the theft of ballot boxes in Copperhill, TN. The suspects fled into Georgia. When they came upon a road block that was set up by the Georgia State Patrol, the suspects shot at the officers, turned around and traveled back toward Tennessee. After a police chase, these suspects were shot and killed by officers.

Clyde, primarily, drove an early 1940s model car that was white and had the siren on the fender of the car. He was later killed in a more modern 1951 car.

When asked to recall the day that he received the news, Richard remembered that they were at school. Early one morning the Sheriff came to the school to tell the children that there had been an accident. Richard was around 8 years old and his brother was near 12. After the details of the accident had been sorted out, the investigators revealed that Clyde had been killed in an accident that resulted in his overturned patrol car.

Richard described his father as a good person, dedicated citizen, a World War II veteran and always eager to perform his civic duty and serve the people of Georgia. The event was important to him and he wished that his family could be in attendance for the event.

At this time, Colonel McDonough spoke to the crowd as he explained how important it was to honor each and every single one of the 27 fallen Georgia State Patrol officers.

“If you do not remember your past, you cannot find your future”

he said. After that, he asked that Richard Wehunt to come to the front of the venue. McDonough presented Wehunt with a memorial replica of his father’s badge, along with the same type of patch that his father wore on his sleeve. A teary eyed Wehunt expressed his gratitude but that would only be one of the memorials he was to receive on this day.

As the memorial ceremony concluded, cars lined up to proceed to the roadside dedication ceremony. Approximately 20 Georgia State Patrol cars were included in this precession. Upon arrival at the road, formerly known as Spur 60 in Mineral Bluff, Dana Chastain with Fannin County Clerk of Court announced the resolution had been signed to take effect. Road department representative, Emily Dunn, presented Wehunt with a replica sign that would be placed on the roadway. After this presentation, the sign was unveiled. Again, a teary eyed Wehunt was moved by the honor his father was receiving and the pride in his eyes was quite evident.

The road, formerly known as Spur 60, in Mineral Bluff leading to North Carolina is now known as Georgia State Patrol Trooper Clyde Arthur Wehunt #217 Memorial Highway.

The ceremony was attended by prominent figures within the community including Mayor Donna Whitener, Blue Ridge City Councilman Michael Eaton, Commissioner Chairman Bill Simonds, Sheriff Dane Kirby, a total of five retired public safety officers, over twenty current Georgia State Patrol officers, officers from Gilmer County Sheriff’s Department. Speaker of the House, David Ralston was also there as a guest speaker.

FYN would like to congratulate the Wehunt family on receiving this honor.

Author

MG

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