Williamson Council conducts somber meeting

Rachel Baldwin rbaldwin@civitasmedia.com

October 25, 2013

WILLIAMSON - There was hardly a dry eye inside the Williamson Council Chamber’s Wednesday evening during the Oct. 23rd meeting, as the scheduled agenda took a back burner to the shock of dealing with the loss of a beloved city policeman, Darry Paige.

“I’ve been in this position for almost nine (9) years,” stated Williamson Mayor Darrin McCormick, “And this is the first time I’ve shed tears during a council meeting.”

Council members shared the mayor’s sentiments, as they spoke of their love for the 48 year-old veteran officer who passed away in the early morning hours of Wednesday, after suffering a heart attack. Paige had been on medical leave from the department for the past couple of months due to health issues with his heart, but was hopeful he would be returning to work in the near future. Sadly, his wish did not come true.

Several members of the Williamson Police Department were in attendance at the meeting including Chief Barry Blair, Lt. G.P. Dotson, Lt. J. Hall Jr. and Patrolman J. Tincher, and they stood together and applauded the dedicated efforts of the Williamson Fire Department and other EMS personnel who did everything they could to save the life of Paige, who collapsed on his mother’s porch on East 4th Avenue.

“You guys went above and beyond,” stated Lt. Hall. “I know how hard that was for you because all of you knew Darry and loved him. But you put all that aside and did your job in the most professional way possible. For that, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

Emergency personnel were called to the scene after Paige fell to the floor of the porch and was reportedly unconscious/unresponsive. Paramedics gave their all to save their friend, but it was not to be.

“We lost one of our own last night,” said McCormick. “That hits home, it’s so hard to lose one of our guys. Darry was one of the best policeman that has ever served the City of Williamson. He will be missed by all who knew him.”

“He was top-notch,” said Councilman York Smith. “You didn’t get any better than Darry.”

“This morning when I was told about the death of my friend, I had such a heavy heart,” said Council Member Sherry Brown. “I know that it was hard for each of you to do what you did to try to save his life. You lost a brother.”

“I started thinking of how we fail to say thank you often enough to our police and firefighters. They put their life on the line every time they put on their uniforms, every time they respond to a call. We need to express our appreciation to them more often because we none have a guarantee of tomorrow. We don’t know what our future holds.”

“My prayers are with the Paige family that God will comfort them during this terrible loss.”

Mayor McCormick commented that when former Police Chief David Rockel returned to work after undergoing a hard battle with cancer, you never seen him without the “Big Man” (Paige) by his side.

“When David first came back to work, he was still ill,” said his wife and Council Member, Connie Rockel. “He still had a feeding tube inserted. Darry promised me that he would take care of my husband and make sure that nothing happened to him and that’s exactly what he did. I will never forget that.”

“He was an awesome person and a true friend,” said Councilman Matt Thornsbury. “He stood out above others, he had a wonderful heart and always had a smile. He never changed, he was always the same.”

“A good person is the most valuable asset our city could have, and Darry was one of the best,” remarked Fire Chief Jerry Mounts. “I’m going to miss him - the department is going to miss him - and this city is going to miss him.”

A select few items on the council’s agenda were discussed, including the purchase of a used police cruiser to replace one that was totaled in an accident, with council agreeing to use the insurance money recouped after the case was settled with the insurance company that would be added to a contribution of $4,000 from the Mingo County Commission to complete the buy.

Trick or’ Treat will be held inside Williamson City limits on Thursday, Oct. 31, from 6-8 p.m. The mayor cautions the public to be on the lookout for the little ghosts and goblins that will be invading your neighborhoods, to assure they have a safe and uneventful night.

On Saturday, Nov. 2, an Emergency Preparedness Mock Disaster will take place in Williamson, to assure that local law enforcement, firefighters and other EMS personnel are properly trained and prepared to deal with events that could take place.

Information was released regarding the funeral service for Patrolman Paige. The celebration of his life been scheduled for Saturday, the 26th at 1 p.m., at the Williamson Field House. Visitation will also be prior to the service, between the hours of 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Paige will be buried at the Mountain View Memory Garden at Maher, with a full military and police rights ceremony.