WELLINGTON — Cory Coursen, 18, told the crowd he only knew his father through pictures and letters because his father died in the line of duty in January 2002 when Cory was just 2.
“I’m envious of all those who knew my dad. I want that so bad,” he said. “I just want to talk to him. I want to know all his likes and dislikes. I want those dad talks with him.”
Coursen’s father, Dyke “AJ” Coursen, was honored Thursday at the fifth annual Lorain County Police Memorial.
Dyke Coursen, formerly with the LaGrange fire and police departments, was killed in 2002 while responding to a domestic disturbance while working as a deputy for the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office in South Carolina.
In two weeks, Cory Coursen will graduate from Toledo Technology Academy, and he said he knows it will just be added to a long list of things his father has missed.
Wellington Police Chief Tim Barfield said Wellington officials were grateful to host the memorial event for the second time in the tradition’s five years.
Officers at the event read the names of officers aloud who have died in the line of duty since 1883. Each time a name was read, a rose was placed in front of a red, white and blue wreath on the stage in front of the Wellington Square.
The keynote speaker, retired Ohio Highway Trooper A.J. Torres, spoke of his partner, Trooper Kenneth Velez, who lived in Lorain and was struck and killed by a car in September 2016 while conducting a traffic stop on Interstate 90 in Lakewood.
The memorial service also honored Wellington police Officer Edmund Smith. Smith was killed in 1957 while responding to a domestic disturbance at Barker and Maple streets. His daughters, Connie Smith Buckland and Marcia Crawford, attended the service and thanked the Wellington Police Department for its hospitality.
“It’s great for the communities to find out just what kind of brotherhood the police officers are, they’re family with everybody,” Connie Smith Buckland said. “They’ve taken us under their wing, and we’re a part of their family now.”
Cory Coursen plans to major in mechanical engineering at Brigham Young University in Idaho and said he hopes to make his father proud. Among the little he has been able to experience of his father, Cory said he’ll always remember him as the walking definition of public service.
“He was so service-oriented and loved to serve, and that was just something that stayed with me forever,” he said.