HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The community came together to honor fallen officers Benjamin Deen and Liquori Tate for the city's annual End of Watch Memorial Motorcycle Ride Saturday afternoon.
There were flashing lights, police sirens and bikers who came together to honor the officers and their families.
"Liquori put on his uniform with so much pride, and it means a lot to me today," said Youlander Ross, Tate's mother. "Not only was the uniform prideful to him, he liked the flashing lights and siren."
It was difficult for many at the event to believe that these two men were killed in the line of duty a year ago.
"You never get used to it. I think you always look for them," said mother Mary Ellen Deen. "You listen for a phone call from them. I's just very hard to describe."
Today was bittersweet for both families. Despite their terrible loss, they were surrounded by a supportive community.
The Hattiesburg police force will never forget Liquori and B.J," said Assistant Chief of Hattiesburg Police Frank Misenhelter.
With this support, the Greater Pine Belt Community Foundation was able to award the Deen and Tate Memorial scholarship to Youlander Ross. She plans on going to Jackson State to pursue her dream of becoming an elementary school teacher. She said her son's encouragement is what motivated her.
"His response was, 'well, Momma, you know if that's what you want to do go ahead and go for it' and those words inspired me to go for my dream," Ross said.
Deen's wife Robin was also inspired to create the Officer Benjamin J. Deen Assistance Fund that will go toward police officer safety.
"We want our officers safe," she said. "We don't want any other tragedy like what happened on May 9 to happen again, and I will do everything in my power to prevent it."
The Greater Pine Belt Community Foundation said the purpose of these events is to help families of fallen officers, like Deen and Tate, and to raise money for scholarships that will make an impact.
The money raised also go toward scholarships awarded to injured officers or family members who are interested in going to school or the police academy. To learn more about how to donate, go to the website.