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Fallen Georgia officer honored during National Police Week

Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 2:30 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - During this National Police Week, the nation remembers nearly 400 fallen heroes who were killed in the line of duty. The services will honor Corporal Avery D. Hillman of the Crisp County Sheriff’s Office, who died last October after contracting COVID-19.

“We love him very, very much and we miss him every single day,” said Cherese Hillman, the widow of Corporal Hillman.

Corporal Avery Hillman loved sports, law enforcement and spending time with his wife Cherese and their 11-year-old son Maleakhi.

“We used to go on field trips, we used to play game together in my room,” Maleakhi said.

Hillman’s dedication to public service began at an early age. He served in the U.S. Army and spent decades with the Crisp County Sheriff’s Office. Even after a long week, Hillman would volunteer at the Friday night football games and lead the other officers in saluting the flag during the National Anthem.

“He loved this community. He loved this country,” said Crisp County Sheriff Bill Hancock.

At age 50, Hillman was eligible for retirement but kept serving.

“That day that we gave him that award and we recognized him for 30 years, he could’ve walked out and went home, but he didn’t,” Hancock said.

Sheriff Bill Hancock said Hillman was eager to serve in all types of law enforcement roles - from the patrols division, to a school resource officer, to his final assignment at the Crisp Regional Hospital.

“That’s one of the most important jobs that we have here at the sheriff’s office, because that’s where we meet the most people,” Hancock said. “It’s very important to put our good, positive person forward out there, and he was that person that we chose.”

Hillman contracted COVID-19 as a front-line worker providing security to the hospital. After nearly five and a half weeks of fighting the virus, he died of complications.

“I feel that he’s at rest and at peace and we just hope that he continues to watch over us, and he left us in good hands,” Cherese Hillman said.

Hillman’s name was recently etched in at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. Virtual services are taking place this week, while the in-person ceremony is scheduled for October.

The Crisp County Sheriff’s Office will host a law enforcement memorial Thursday at 6:30 p.m, which can be viewed over livestream on social media. The sheriff’s office will honor Hillman and seven others from the department who have died in the line of duty.

There will also be a candlelight vigil held virtually at 8:00 p.m. Thursday to honor Hillman and the other fallen heroes from around the country.

The Georgia Public Safety Memorial in Forsyth will host services on Tuesday, May 18 at 2:00 p.m. The Hillman family is expected to receive a medal and commendation.

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