SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Scranton police officer John Wilding who died in the line of duty last year was honored and remembered Monday afternoon.
Wilding’s department, along with the Fraternal Order of Police E.B. Jermyn Lodge #2, held their annual Memorial Day services.
Wilding died last July while chasing three robbery suspects in West Scranton.
Wilding’s name is now etched in stone on a memorial outside of Scranton Police Headquarters, symbolizing the sacrifice he made for his city.
Hearts were heavy outside the Scranton police department Monday as the city honored the 13 officers who have paid the ultimate price for serving their city since 1889.
Among them was patrolman John J. Wilding.
“In my 18 year career, it has been the hardest year of my career probably. It’s taken a toll on me,” Scranton police officer and union president Paul Helring said.
The memorial service featured a reading of the names of each fallen officer and the sound of rifles also pierced the sorrow-filled silence.
“We need to acknowledge our pain, let us not pretend that it is less than it is,” Monsignor Thomas Muldowney, chaplain for the Pennsylvania State Police said during his memorial day address.
By prayer, many remembered Wilding as a young father who had a passion and dedication for his job.
His family was in the front row.
“Thank you for John’s life, for John Wilding’s life. Please take care of him Lord and please take care of his beautiful family,” Scranton police department chaplain Dennis D’Agostine said.
For the last year, the Scranton police department has tried to find its “new normal” without John Wilding.
With the community’s support, a lot of attention and improvements have been made to the fallen officers memorial located just outside of police headquarters.
“This is a symbol of who we are and what we do and what we stand for and the city that we serve and we have to keep that memory alive,” Scranton police chief Carl Graziano said.
Three teenagers were charged with second-degree murder in connection with officer Wilding’s death.
A judge recently ruled they should all be tried as adults. The trial is pending.
Later this month, John Wilding’s name will be added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC.
Many Scranton police officers plan to make the trip to be there.