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‘I’m so proud to be the father of Nathan Lyday.’ Fallen officers added to Utah Law Enforcement Memorial

A law enforcement officer bows their head in prayer during the annual Utah Police Memorial Service at the Utah Capitol on Thursday, May 6, 2021. Utah police officers, family, friends and community leaders gathered for the annual service honoring the 147 Utah police officers killed in the line of duty.
A law enforcement officer bows their head in prayer during the annual Utah Police Memorial Service at the Utah Capitol on Thursday, May 6, 2021. Utah police officers, family, friends and community leaders gathered for the annual service honoring the 147 Utah police officers killed in the line of duty.
Annie Barker, Deseret News

Two names were added to Utah Law Enforcement Memorial this week.

“Today, Franklin Schaerrer and Nate Lyday are chilling examples of the reality of the commitment which lies within each of these fine officers with us today and those across our great state and our great nation,” Ogden Police Chief Eric Young said during the annual memorial service for Utah law enforcement on the west grounds of the state Capitol in Salt Lake City Thursday.

Lyday, who had been with the Ogden Police Department for just 15 months, was shot and killed on May 28, 2020, while responding to a domestic violence call. His father, Andrew Lyday, said even though it has almost been a year since his son’s death, it still seems like yesterday.

“Still keep expecting him to come around the corner of the house and show up and say, ‘Sorry. I’ve been gone for little bit. Now I’m back,’” he said during the ceremony. “Still have the urge to call him at times to catch up on things.”

Andrew Lyday said as he thought about what to say during the ceremony, he kept coming back to “the idea of one.”

“One husband, one son, one grandson, an uncle, co-worker and friend. One event that changed so much for so many of us in just an instance. One amazing wife to be left behind,” he said.

As everyone continues to heal and move forward, Lyday said, it would be the “roots of one” that would hold everyone together, from the individual officers who were with his son when he was shot, to every single person in the Ogden community who has supported them over the past year.

“I would ask each of you to do that one thing now and then for yourself and for others, whether it be a call, a text, a hug, just a visit or words of encouragement. You never know, cause it might be something that helps in a time when, it’s not known to you, but needed,” he said. “I’m so proud to be the father of Nathan Lyday.”

Young said he, too, would always honor officer Lyday’s memory.

“Nate Lyday’s heart was full of love. Love for his community, love for his co-workers, love for his family and love for Ashley. He stood between those of us with love and compassion for our fellow human beings and someone who was filled with hate and evil. Hate and evil took Nate away from us. But when each one of us stood up, wiped away our tears, put the badge back on, hate and evil lost and will continue to lose because of the heroes we honor on this wall today and because of these heroes standing here with us and across our country each day. I thank God I was able to know Nate. He truly brought a little bit of light each day when I walked and talked with him. I will miss the greatness I knew lay ahead for him,” he said.

Also honored on Thursday was Utah Highway Patrol trooper Franklin Schaerrer, who died due to a work-related injury on July 22, 1945. His death was forgotten until Utah Law Enforcement Historian Robert Kirby stumbled across his story while researching another case.

Schaerrer was helping a motorist near Payson on the road that would later become I-15. He was trying to lift the motorist’s vehicle out of traffic and suffered a hernia. He had surgery, but died a few days later, Kirby said.

“One of the reasons his death was forgotten, or what I consider the biggest reason, was that it occurred in July of 1945. And the papers were full of the casualty lists for Utah boys who had been killed in the war or were still missing. So a police officer dying from a duty-related injury like a hernia was small news,” he said. “Normally when we find (old cases), there’s some other event that overshadowed them. It wasn’t a gunfight so it doesn’t stick out, but it was on duty nonetheless.”

Kirby said the annual memorial service is held to let officers in attendance know that they won’t be forgotten if they are the next to be killed in the line of duty, just as much as the ceremony is held to honor those who have passed.

When it was time to place the plagues with each officer’s name on the wall, Ashley Lyday, Nathan’s widow, wiped away tears as she placed her husband’s name on the memorial. A relative of Schaerrer, who once served as a West Valley police officer, along with UHP Col. Mike Rapich, put the trooper’s name on the wall.

The ceremony concluded with Amazing Grace played on bagpipes, a 21-gun salute and the playing of taps.