Mother of slain police officer says ‘We need to stand up and start backing these officers’

Published 4:17 pm Tuesday, March 19, 2019

A rally held Saturday to pray for members of law enforcement, firefighters and medical emergency services personnel also kicked off a fundraising drive for a foundation that will help the families of those first responders who are critically injured or killed in the line of duty.

Warriors of the Badge is a non-profit set up by Vicki Moak, the mother of fallen Brookhaven police officer Zach Moak, who died while answering a call last year. Moak and patrolman James White were both fatally shot, while a year earlier, Lincoln County Sheriff’s deputy William Durr was shot to death while on a domestic call.

Vicki Moak wanted to help others the way she and her family have been helped by neighbors, friends and strangers.

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To begin the fundraising efforts, Moak organized the prayer rally, which was held at the Lincoln Civic Center. Orders for T-shirts that bear the Warriors of the Badge logo, designed by Zach Moak’s younger brother, Chris, were taken at the rally. The shirts will be available through the foundation’s website. Moak is working out the details to get that online soon.

Donors will be able to make contributions through the site as well as order T-shirts and other fundraising items, she said.

Besides prayer for the first responders, vocalists Jamira Jackson, Andi Cotton and Leah Stewart performed for the crowd of about 75.

Among the speakers were Police Chief Kenneth Collins, the Rev. Jeff Davis and the Rev. Phillip Sterling.

Collins took the stage first and talked about the importance of not living in fear. He urged those in attendance to rally together to support those who risk their lives to make Brookhaven and Lincoln County safer places to live.

“If we aren’t together, our country is going to fall apart,” he said.

Davis, who is Moak’s pastor, said, “Darkness cannot hold back the light. The light will show through.”

He said the officers who have died in the line of duty had that light and were called to duty.

“If you are not called, you will not stick with it,” he said. “If you are not called, you will not fulfill your duty.”

Moak said she wanted to do something when her son first told her about Durr’s death, but she didn’t know what to do. It was only after her own son’s death that she realized what her purpose and her call to duty would become.

Through the foundation, she hopes to make a difference for the families of those who are injured or killed, but she also wants to honor those who are left to continue the fight.

“We need to stand up and start backing these officers,” she said.

Story by Sarah Elizabeth Balkcom