Wesley Mack's name will officially join a nationwide list on May 13 of more than 500 people who lost their lives in the line of duty in 2004.
James McMenamin (left), president of the FOP Wesley Mack Lodge 39, and Wayne Wright, secretary, display the new banner made after the lodge was renamed in honor of Wesley Mack, a Columbia County deputy who died in the line of duty.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
The 46-year-old Columbia County Sheriff's Office motorcycle deputy and former president of Georgia Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 39, died July 12 from injuries he suffered in a wreck after a routine traffic stop.
James McMenamin, Mack's longtime friend, who took over as president of the lodge after Mack's death, said that lodge Vice President Mike Cullinan and several motorcycle deputies will travel to Washington, D.C., to witness Mack's name being added to a list at the 17th annual Candlelight Vigil, which will be held at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.
Though McMenamin said the lodge was officially renamed in March as the FOP Wesley Mack Lodge 39, members began the lengthy process of officially changing the name shortly after Mack's death.
"Upon Wesley's death, that's when we decided to honor him and his memory. We needed to change the name," McMenamin said.
McMenamin said Mack was a very active member of the lodge for many years before spending less than a year as its president. The lodge is made up of members from 10 Georgia counties in the Augusta area, with approximately one-third coming from Columbia County, said lodge Secretary Wayne Wright, where Mack worked for the sheriff's office for seven years after retiring from the Army.
Mack's trademark smile and kind personality is one thing missed at the lodge meetings, those who knew him say.
"That's one thing, Wesley always had a smile," McMenamin said.
"In all the years I knew Wesley, and I knew him a number of years, I never heard him utter a swear word nor did I ever hear him disparage anybody. When he was in the hospital down at MCG after the accident, a person that he cited for a violation of some type actually showed up at the hospital to give blood."
McMenamin said following such a man and friend as Mack as lodge president was difficult.
"It was tough because he and I were very close," McMenamin said, adding that changing the name to honor Mack was in the back of his mind while speaking at Mack's funeral.
"Wesley was just a tremendous person. Big shoes to fill right off the bat."
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