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Law enforcers who made ultimate sacrifice honored

SALT LAKE CITY — There have been many tributes to Millard County sheriff's deputy Josie Greathouse Fox since she was shot and killed while on patrol in January.

Thursday, Fox received one more honor when her family was posthumously awarded her purple heart and her name was added to the Utah Law Enforcement Memorial on the grounds of the Utah State Capitol.

"We appreciate this very much. It helps everyone remember Josie," said Fox's sister, Sandi Greathouse. "It helps the healing process a little bit."

Thursday, a day after Sevier County Sheriff's Sgt. Franco Aguilar was laid to rest after he was killed in the line of duty, law enforcers again gathered for the annual Law Enforcement Memorial Service.

In addition to Greathouse, U.S. Marshal Joseph C. Akin's name was added to the memorial. Aguilar's name will be added to the wall next year as his death came after the cutoff for submissions. Aguilar was mentioned, however, by several of Thursday's speakers.

Fox was killed in January after pulling over a vehicle on U.S. 50 just outside of town. Her gun was still in its holster when she was found, leading some to speculate she was attacked without warning. Roberto Miramontes Roman, 37, and Ruben Chavez Reyes were both charged in connection with her death.

Thursday, Sandi Greathouse told those gathered for the ceremony about how her family had always heard stories about her sister's tough side and about how she could take down men twice her size. But since her death, stories about her caring side have also come out.

The family has learned about how Fox would buy Christmas presents for strangers, lecture people she was taking to jail, help the town's youth and check up on citizens by walking by their homes every day, Sandi Greathouse said.

"She would give people a chance. She would see the best in people, she said.

Fox used to see people who had gotten into trouble with the law as "good people having a bad day," Greathouse said.

"What they had done didn't have to define them the rest of their lives," she would tell others.

In one incident, Fox went to the home of a little girl who mistakenly dialed 911. After the young girl heard of Fox's death, she said she wished she would have dialed 911 one more time to see her again.

"It's a huge loss to our family," Sandi Greathouse said. "Utah will remember Josie and the risk she accepted on behalf of everyone."

Akin was also awarded a purple heart posthumously and had a plaque with his name added to the wall.

Akin was a U.S. marshal from Colorado who on Feb. 21, 1915, traveled to an area just outside of Bluff to serve an arrest warrant for murder on a man who was Indian. The tribe wouldn't turn him over, however, and in the subsequent gun battle, Akin was killed. That incident sparked what would later be known as the Posey War, the last Indian uprising in the United States.

After "Amazing Grace" was played on bagpipes, troopers gave a 21-gun salute and played "Taps."

The Law Enforcement Memorial Committee said there were about a half-dozen people like Akin who were killed in the line of duty and forgotten over the years, who could still be added to the memorial.

e-mail: preavy@desnews.com