A remembrance ceremony was held Friday afternoon to honor the City of Wing’s first fallen officer.
It was almost 90 years ago when Deputy George Piepkorn responded to a domestic disturbance call. Piepkorn suffered severe stab wounds from the encounter. Several days after, he passed away.
“Thinking about George and what happened so long ago, it’s like the same calls they get now. The same domestic calls, which are the most dangerous calls because emotions are high. People don’t realize the danger they put themselves in,” said Heather Woodlee.
Thanks to modern technology and the work of the Burleigh County Sheriff’s Department, they were able to track down one of Piepkron’s living relatives, Heather Woodlee, who came to the ceremony all the way from Texas.
“It’s been about a year in the making. This whole thing, I really didn’t want to miss it at all. So, I knew I had to make it,” said Woodlee.
Lt. Jeff Olson tells us after losing another officer in the line of duty in recent years, they decided to take a closer look at their department’s history.
“Over the years employees have taken an interest. They’ve done their own research. They’ve looked up information from the past, reached out to family members,” said Olson.
The department discovered Piepkorn’s story and took it upon themselves to collect donations to replace his headstone.
“It was disappointing seeing the condition and state that it was in. One of our deputies that fell in the line of duty, we should be able to honor them more than that. Seeing it now, the way that it is with the new headstone, it means a lot to us as a department,” said Olson.
Woodlee says she is blown away by the turnout and efforts of the Burleigh County Sheriff’s Department.
“For me personally, it was touching because my husband is actually a police officer in Texas,” said Woodlee.
“Family really, really is important to me and always has been. But it’s like, family will always be a part of you. Not only by blood but just by certain traditions you have or certain things you did together,” said Woodlee.
Woodlee tells us she hopes her kids will one day keep the memory of George alive.
The Burleigh County Sheriff’s Department says they continue to honor all fallen officers — not just during police week, but every time they put on their badge.