|Sheriff’s Posse dedicates marker to memory of co-founder|
|Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor|
A fighter. A man who bucked the odds against medical ailments that would have felled a lesser person. A good officer and friend.
That's how the late Kenneth Wisdom Sr. was described Thursday afternoon when the monument marking his grave was unveiled.
Wisdom died Jan. 3, 2005, but he certainly has not been forgotten by friends and loved ones. Hopkins County Sheriff's Posse members wanted to make sure their friend continued to be remembered, so they used some of their own money as an act of final respect "befitting a good officer and individual."
With family and friends in attendance Thursday, and the Posse acting as honor guard, the old metal marker which had been placed at Wisdom's grave was removed and the new stone set in place.
Wisdom's only son, Ken Jr., and sister, Joyce Vanginault, were among those in attendance.
Family members said they had left the old marker, about the size of a license plate, atop Wisdom's grave in Weaver Cemetery to mark its place because they were unable to afford a marker to honor him.
"I was sad that I was not able to afford one myself," Vanginault said. "I kept trying to figure out how I could get one."
Bill Allan, a fellow member of the Sheriff's Posse and reserve sheriff's deputy, was the first to notice the lack of a memorial marker. He had been conducting a routine patrol at Weaver Cemetery about a year after Wisdom's death when he noticed that the metal plate lay in place of a grave marker.
Sheriff's Posse members decided they would honor their friend and his contribution to the community, as well as to the Sheriff's Posse.
"It was really nice," Vanginault said of the stone and dedication ceremony. "He faced so many trials, cancer, stroke, heart trouble, I can't think of a better tribute."
Wisdom wasn't just a member of the Sheriff's Posse — he co-founded the volunteer group with Hopkins County Constable Roger "Tex" Maynard 19 years ago. He started his career in law enforcement in Wood County, then finished up at Hopkins County Sheriff's Office.
Thanks to Wisdom and Maynard's initiative the Sheriff's Posse was built with a solid foundation of high-caliber individuals and peace officers. The group roster continues to carry about 20 members who aid other law enforcement agencies with manhunts, search and rescue operations and security at functions such as fairs and rodeos.
Half of the members of the Sheriff's Posse are certified peace officers and have special training in techniques such as horsemanship.
The Sheriff's Posse is funded independently at no cost to taxpayers, relying on contributions from community members for support.
"It's such a wonderful group," Vanginault said of the Sheriff's Posse. "He felt for all of them like they were his brothers."
Wisdom retired as a peace officer from Hopkins County Sheriff’s Office. His career also included work as a dispatcher for Winnsboro Police Department and many years of service with Wood County Sheriff’s Department. He was a member of both Hopkins and Wood County Sheriff’s Posses, and helped organize other county mounted posses and patrols. He was also an animal control officer for several years at East Texas Livestock.
Vanginault said the Sheriff's Posse originally planned to dedicate the marker on the 20th anniversary of the group's founding, but moved the date up to Thursday, which would have been Wisdom's 65th birthday.
"I think it's wonderful that the Sheriff's Posse did this. They made it extra special. They really honored by brother, who loved law enforcement and put everything he had into it," his sister said lovingly.