Mother of Akron police officer Russ Long who died last year touched by memorial service

AKRON, Ohio - Barb Long sat in her usual spot for the annual police memorial service in Akron, but this time her son, Jonathan Russ Long, wasn't by her side.

With tears in her eyes, the 81-year-old mother of eight children recalled Russ's words from last year's ceremony.

(SEE SLIDESHOW FROM WEDNESDAY'S CEREMONY)

"Rusty said, 'I'm glad my name is not etched on that stone', but what can I say, it's going to be etched on that stone," Barb Long said.

 

In 1991, Russ Long was paralyzed during a high-speed chase on Hazel Street in Akron. He used a voice machine for the rest of his life and died due to complications from his injuries in August of 2013.

Family members said Long never complained and just made the best of the unfortunate hand that was dealt to him.

Many officers considered him an inspiration. He was often a guest speaker at the police academy.

"Russ is one of the bravest officers I have ever met. I've actually said the bravest officer I have ever met," said Akron Police James Nice.

Long's name will be added to Akron's memorial in front of police headquarters during a ceremony Friday afternoon.

His name will also be engraved on the National Police Memorial next week in Washington D.C.

During Wednesday's service, the Akron Police Honor Guard and the Cleveland Police Pipes and Drums performed before relatives of officers killed in the line of duty and dozens of brothers and sisters in blue.

Long's sister, Jan Kelly, said the ceremony was both difficult and uplifting.

"It's such an honor for the service that he gave," Kelly said.

Last year, 105 police officers gave their lives in the line of duty across the United States. 43 officers have been killed this year-- 16 percent higher than this time last year.

"We will never forget these officers or the courage they showed," Chief Nice told the crowd.

Barb Long said she was touched by Wednesday's service, but expected nothing less from the officers who loved and respected her son.

"It's the brotherhood. Expected. I love them for it. I don't feel alone."

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