(Senate - October 03, 2018)

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[Pages S6492-S6493]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  Mrs. HYDE-SMITH. Mr. President, flags in Mississippi are flying at 
half-staff as my State mourns the loss of hometown heroes. The 
Mississippi Highway Patrol Honor Guard stands vigil over three fallen 
comrades, who swore to protect and serve their communities.
  Mississippi law enforcement lost three officers in 2 days.
  Early Saturday morning in Brookhaven, Officer James Kevin White of 
Sontag and Corporal Walter Zachery Marshall Moak of Brookhaven gave 
their lives in the line of duty.
  On Sunday, off-duty Mississippi Highway Patrol Trooper Kenneth 
Joshlin ``Josh'' Smith of Walnut was fatally shot near the Tippah and 
Alcorn county line.
  James was 35. Zach was 31. Josh was 32. They leave behind children, 
wives, parents, and siblings, but they will be remembered not only by 
their families, but by grateful communities. I know this because I live 
in Brookhaven. These men protected my family and my neighbors, and I am 
so thankful for their service.
  Local media in Brookhaven and Corinth have published tributes to 
these men, their service, and those they have left behind.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that a September 29, 2018, 
article from Brookhaven Daily Leader, titled, ``Officers Remembered as 
Men of Service,'' be printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                 Officers Remembered as Men of Service

                           (By Adam Northam)

       James Kevin White wasn't about to give up the fight.
       He was serving with the Mississippi National Guard in Iraq 
     when his convoy rolled over a roadside bomb, flinging 
     shrapnel into his knee and tearing at his face. The wounds 
     were serious, and the Army gave Lincoln County's White a 
     chance to go home.
       ``He said, `No,'' said White's sister, Lisa White of 
     Vicksburg. ``He was still able to walk and fight, and that's 
     what he was gonna do. He wasn't going to give up, or take an 
     easy way out. He stayed, throughout his tour.''
       White, 35, came home from the war and went straight into 
     law enforcement, and he served the community in that role for 
     the rest of his life, until his death in the line of duty in 
     Brookhaven Saturday morning. He'd been in the Guard since he 
     was 17, following in the footsteps of his grandfather, the 
     late J.C. White Jr., a military veteran, and serving the law 
     was just the next step.
       ``He just wanted things to be right. He wanted to make a 
     difference,'' his sister said. ``He lived and breathed law 
     enforcement--he'd have given me a ticket for going 5 miles 
     over the speed limit I wasn't safe. Nobody was.''
       White got into law enforcement through communications, 
     working as a dispatcher for the Mississippi Highway Patrol. 
     He went to the academy, but the knee injury from Iraq forced 
     him to drop out. He started a family--his boys, 8-year-old 
     J.C. and 7-year-old Lee, go to school at Enterprise 
     Attendance Center, their father's alma mater--and put law 
     enforcement on hold as long as he could.
       But service brought him back. He worked as a deputy for the 
     Lawrence County Sheriff's Office from 2016-2018.
       ``He was a good officer, and he loved law enforcement,'' 
     said Lawrence County Sheriff Lessie Butler. He remembers 
     White's attention to detail. ``His uniform had to be just 
     about perfect,'' he said.
       Cpl. Brandon Fortenberry with the Mississippi Highway 
     Patrol knew White about 10 years, and the two talked often 
     when both were out on the patrol, even when they were no 
     longer working in the same agency.
       ``He was always a go-getter. He was not one to turn back, 
     he always had a leader's mindset,'' Fortenberry said. ``He 
     was always the one I could trust to come back me up on those 
     late-night shifts. I could depend on him being there for 
       White's sister said he loved his boys, loved her own 
     children. His passing has left an emptiness in the hearts of 
     his family, who are coming together from across the South to 
     mourn him.
       ``I don't know how I feel,'' she said. ``I don't know what 
     I think. I just don't know.''
       The other Brookhaven officer lost Saturday was also raised 
     with a heart of service.
       ``When Zach was growing up, we told him, `Whatever you want 
     to do--do whatever makes you happy,' '' said Janie Stogner, 
     owner of Janie's Pastry Shop. ``We told him, `That's what you 
     go for.' ''
       What made Lincoln County's Zach Moak, 31, happy was 
       So, he went for it.
       Stogner's nephew became a law enforcement officer, serving 
     as a reserve deputy

[[Page S6493]]

     with the Lincoln County Sheriff's Department, a part-time 
     policeman with the Wesson Police Department and finally going 
     full time with the Brookhaven Police Department. He was a 
     servant of the law, and a servant of men, and he was carrying 
     out that service when he died in the line of duty shortly 
     before 5 a.m. Saturday.
       ``He's died a hero, trying to protect and take care of our 
     town, and people need to know that,'' Stogner said. ``He put 
     everybody first--everybody came before him. He never done for 
     himself. We've lost somebody real special.''
       Moak was a 2006 graduate of Enterprise Attendance Center, a 
     capable football player who helped the Yellow Jackets make 
     the playoffs. Former principal Shannon Eubanks said his 
     entire class was full of service-minded youth.
       ``One of those graduates is in the U.S. Marines, several 
     became teachers, others were in nursing--Zach was in a close-
     knit group in a service class,'' he said. ``He was a very 
     likable guy, just a good guy--a quiet kid, didn't cause any 
     problems. He's going to be greatly missed by the community.''
       Lincoln County Sheriff Steve Rushing said Moak got his 
     start in law enforcement by going through the law enforcement 
     academy and serving in the reserve deputy program.
       ``He was a super-nice guy who loved working in law 
     enforcement. Dedicated to his job,'' Rushing said. ``You 
     could always depend on him to work the details. He loved his 
       Moak moved on to Wesson, where his boss was chief Chad 
       ``We enjoyed him being a part of our family in Wesson,'' 
     O'Quinn said. ``I was happy for him when he was able to 
     pursue a full-time career in law enforcement. He will be 
     dearly missed by us all.
       Pike County Sheriff's Deputy Jason Blake went through 
     training with Moak, whom he regarded as a brother.
       ``Best man I ever knew,'' Blake said. ``He treated 
     everybody with respect, no matter who you were or what your 
     background was. That didn't change him When we got into law 
     enforcement together, we both decided we'd give people the 
     chance to change. Whoever steps up on the BPD midnight shift 
     has some massive shoes to fill.''
       Moak's father is Marshall Moak, and his mother is Vicki 
     Nations Moak, who runs the Enterprise Drive Inn. His brother, 
     Christopher Moak, lives in Natchez.
       Vicki Moak said her son got started in law enforcement as 
     an auxiliary officer working security at football games. He 
     signed up for police academy and was accepted--before he told 
     his mother.
       ``I think he thought I'd try to talk him out of it,'' she 
     said. ``I just said, `Is this where your heart is? You'll 
     have a lot coming at you, and I just want you to be 
     prepared.' He said, `I know, momma,' and he loved every 
     minute of it. When he was able to help someone, he felt good 
     about it.''
       Vicki Moak, her face dried from a Saturday long with tears, 
     recalled her son's baptism.
       ``I know where he's at right now, and that gives me 
     peace,'' she said.

  Mrs. HYDE-SMITH. Mr. President, I also ask unanimous consent that 
excerpts from an October 1, 2018, article from Corinth Today, titled, 
``Residents React to Hatchie Bottom Tragedy,'' pertaining to Patrolman 
Josh Smith be printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                 [From the Corinth Today, Oct. 1, 2018]

               Residents React to Hatchie Bottom Tragedy

                           (By Josh Mitchell)

       The circumstances that led to an off-duty Mississippi 
     Highway Patrol trooper being shot and killed remain unclear.
       Josh Smith, 32, was pronounced deceased in Hatchie Bottom 
     near the Alcorn/Tippah County line at around 12:45 a.m. 
       Retired Mississippi Highway Patrolman Freddie Corbin said 
     ``all troopers are like family'' and that Smith was a ``good 
     person'' who would always help people.
       Corbin added that Smith was a husband and father and loved 
     being part of the highway patrol.
       Smith had recently had foot surgery and was assigned to 
     light duty helping out at the driver's license office in 
     Corinth, Corbin noted.
       Smith worked the Tippah County area while Corbin was 
     assigned to Prentiss County, but both were part of the same 
     Troop F, based in New Albany. Corbin said some people joked 
     that they were the ``F Troop.''
       Corbin also said Smith was part of the MHP SWAT team and 
     was a member of the motorcycle unit.
       Corbin works security in the same place where Smith was 
     helping with the driver's license office. Smith had a quiet 
     demeanor, and Corbin said he saw him last Wednesday.
       For the past two days all he has thought about is Smith 
     getting killed.
       ``He was an outstanding guy,'' Corbin added.

  Mrs. HYDE-SMITH. Mr. President, hearts are broken in Mississippi as 
families and friends mourn. Please keep these families and communities 
in your prayers as they face the difficult times ahead. I hope they 
will find comfort in knowing these fallen law enforcement officers will 
be remembered with deep appreciation and gratitude.