Restoration and rememberance
Vandalized monument to fallen officers restored
EPSOM -- On the seven-year anniversary of her husband's death in the line of duty Friday, Laura Briggs joined members of the local chapter of the Nam Knights of America Motorcycle Club to fix and remount the monument honoring Michael Briggs and late Epsom officer Jeremy Charron, both former Marines, at the Epsom traffic circle after it had been knocked over by vandals the weekend before.
Briggs, a Manchester police officer and former Epsom police officer, was killed in the line of duty in 2006, while Charron, an Epsom Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty in 1997.
"It's depressing to hear that it was tipped over, but the response to it is very good and greatly appreciated, not only by our family, but I suspect by people who go around that traffic circle every day," said Jeremy Charron's father Bob.
Mike Dempsey, who is president of the White Mountain chapter of the NKA, said that the club is comprised entirely of law enforcement and armed service members, and as such takes a special interest in honoring fallen officers. But restoring the memorial was also a personal matter for Dempsy, himself a former Epsom Police Officer, as he knew both Charron and Briggs.
"Mike was just the salt of the earth, a really great guy. And Mike's parents live up the street, so I didn't want them to see any desecration here," Dempsey said.
Along with fixing and resetting the broken monument, the NKA also cleaned up any litter around the site, mowed the lawn and trimmed the trees.
"While many years have passed since he has died, it is the most amazing thing to feel his presence through so many people who talk about him openly, kindly and lovingly even to this day. It never ceases to amaze our family how well received and remembered he is for what he did on that fateful morning," Bob Charron said.
Dempsey said that when Michael Brigg's wife Laura heard what was going on she asked if she could help, an offer Dempsey said he was all too willing to accept.
"With it being the anniversary of her husband's death she said she needed something to do, and that it would be therapeutic to help out. I said come on down and bring a rake and a smile," Dempsey said.
Before she left, Briggs gave out some hugs and thanked Dempsey for letting her help repair her husband's memorial, to which he reminded her to call should she or her family need anything.
"I take her boys hunting; a bunch of us that were friends with Mike still look out for his kids," Dempsey said.
Over the years, Dempsey said the traffic circle has become a special place in the community.
"Even politicians honor it by not planting any signs on the circle. The area all around is loaded election time. but not here," Dempsey said.
Of the vandals that knocked over the monument, Dempsey said it was probably just kids being kids.
"They probably didn't even know what they were doing, the monument has no writing on it of any kind."
Some of the NKA members who helped out, like Justin Dirito, weren't even members of the White Mountain chapter, but still felt compelled to help out.
"When I found out what happened I decided I had to come," Dirito said.
This is not the first time Dempsey and his motorcycle club have had to repair and remount the monument. In 2011, a motorist crashed into it after driving up the small hill in the middle of the traffic circle.