Public invited to ceremony honoring five fallen local officers

By Terry Harris

On Thursday, April 29th at 12 noon, the Sussex County Sheriff’s Department will hold a ceremony on behalf of the county honoring five men Sheriff Ernest Giles has described as “good men, leaders of our county, who put their life on the line for citizens of Sussex County.”

According to Sheriff Giles, the events leading up to this special tribute began over a year ago when a memorial was requested honoring Deputy Thomas Edward Felton, Jr., who, when responding to a burglary in progress call in 1989, was hit and killed by an Amtrak train when his vehicle stalled on the railroad tracks.  The pandemic caused a virtual halt to progress toward staging the event.

Now, the memorial event is finally being held next Thursday, with the inclusion of four other Sussex County men who passed during service or shortly after retiring for health concerns.  Those being memorialized on April 29 are:

Deputy Thomas Edward Felton Jr. End of watch 32 years ago April 29th, 1989

Deputy Harry Lee Harris, End of watch March 28, 1950

Captain Kevin G. Diggs Sr.: End of watch June 5, 2013

Sheriff Raymond R. Bell, first African American Sheriff of Sussex County, VA.: End of watch June 3, 2017.

Eddie Vick: first safety coordinator/ fire investigator of Sussex County, VA: End of watch: September 13, 2018

Sheriff E.S. (Stuart) Kitchen, Jr., who served Sussex County as a deputy for several years before serving as sheriff from 1980 until his retirement in 2007, will give remarks at the ceremony which will include the unveiling of a memorial stone for Thomas Felton as well as a ribbon cutting for Bells’ Corner and displays related to Harris, Diggs, and Vick. 

The public is invited to attend the ceremony at 20212 Thornton Square, Sussex, VA to honor these five local officers and to share refreshments while viewing the monuments and displays afterward.