Bridge named for Hope Mills police officer

January 11, 2008 2:43:28 PM PST
A small crowd gathered Friday to honor Officer James Heath Hardin. The Hope Mills police officer died one year ago.

He suffered a heart attack after chasing a suspect on foot.

"It was actually about this time that he passed away," Shelly Hardin, widow, said. "It's an honor. It's an honor to be here and see the support from the community, our friends and family."

Hardin was remembered during the ceremony as a man who knew no strangers.

"Sgt. Hardin gave his life so that we may live in safety," Hope Mills Mayor Eddie Deavers said. "We honor him today not because of how he died however; but because of how he lived."

The family is proud of its heritage. Hardin once traveled to France to perform Native American cultural dances.

"We were so close as a family and this makes it so much harder," James Hardin, father, said. "We did everything together. We vacationed together. We rode motorcycles together. We danced together."

Shelly has been battling insurance companies over money she believes her family should receive because her husband died in the line of duty.

During Friday's ceremony, those battles were pushed aside as the family focused on the bridge being named in Hardin's honor.

"I've been driving over this bridge everyday since I knew it was going to be dedicated to him," Hardin's mother, Malissie Hardin said. "I said now I don't have to drive by the bridge to see the sign. I can just look at it in my house. I'll just smile and just know that it's an honor. It's and honor. I have to go this way everyday, so it'll be nice to see his name up."


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