Sibley's Hawkeye Point to host Summit for Heroes Saturday
SIBLEY, Iowa -- It stands as no comparison to Washington's Mount Rainier or Colorado's Mount Elbert, but as the highest peak in Iowa, Hawkeye Point will host a special Summit for Heroes event Saturday morning.
The point, located on a farm northeast of Sibley -- two miles north of Iowa 9, just east of Iowa 60 on 130th Street -- will be the site of a ceremony to honor all Iowa law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty. Since recordkeeping began, 132 Iowa peace officers have died in uniform, according to Osceola County Sheriff Doug Weber.
During National Police Memorial Week this week, each state is expected to host a climb to its highest peak to honor its fallen law enforcement officers. While people in Iowa will climb the slope to Hawkeye Point, the ascent could prove more challenging in other states. Minnesota's ceremony will be at the top of Cook County's 2,301-foot Eagle Mountain, located northwest of Grand Marais. Iowa's Hawkeye Point boasts an elevation of 1,670 feet.
Weber isn't sure how many people to expect for Saturday's Summit event, although he sent e-mails and teletypes to every law enforcement office across Iowa.
"I have been contacted by family members of some of the officers killed in years past," Weber said, adding that some of them may attend. The event is open to the public.
Weber learned of the Summit for Heroes event a few months ago and, in the days that followed, lined up a brief program for Saturday's event. Boy Scouts from Ocheyedan will be on hand to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, while Dave Earll, a local college student, will perform with his bagpipe. The ceremony, slated to begin at 9 a.m., will include a reading of the names of officers from northwest Iowa who died while doing their job.
The event will also serve as an opportunity for the public to view a marker donated to the county for participation in this year's summit. Created by Duin Monuments of Primghar, the marker reads, "Summit for Heroes" and "May 20, 2006."
Weber said he is looking forward to participating in this year's summit, adding that it is a good cause.
"It's just an opportunity to remember those that died in the line of duty -- and for the family and friends and loved ones that were left behind," he said.
According to the Iowa Department of Public Safety Web site, five officers from northwest Iowa have died in the line of duty. They include Clay County Deputy Sheriff Frank Smith in August 1924; Clay County Deputy Sheriff Louis Dayton in March 1929; O'Brien County Sheriff Jake Mulder in January 1956; Okoboji Police Chief Ralph Thomas in October 1968; and Dickinson County Sheriff's Deputy Howard Holdefer in October 1973.
Summit for Heroes is organized each year by Cops on Top to "honor and raise awareness for police officers who have been killed while protecting and serving their communities."
The first event was conducted in 1999, when a police sergeant from New Mexico decided to honor a Colorado police officer killed in the line of duty. The inaugural climb was to the peak of Denali's Mount McKinley in Alaska. Two years later, the second climb was conducted -- again to Denali -- in memory of a Washington state trooper.
Beginning on Sept. 11, 2002, climbs were conducted to multiple summits around the United States to honor the fire and police personnel who died in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.