The annual Dublin Police Memorial Service on May 11 was an opportunity for central Ohioans to recognize Anthony Morelli and Eric Joering, two Westerville Division of Police officers killed Feb. 10 in the line of duty.
Local law enforcement officials and residents gathered at the Dublin Justice center to honor Morelli and Joering along with other law enforcement officers from Franklin, Union and Delaware counties who lost their lives in the line of duty.
Recognizing the occasion as a solemn one, Mayor Greg Peterson said he was honored to have Westerville Police Chief Joe Morbitzer in attendance.
Morelli and Joering, Peterson said, were simply answering a call for help they day they died.
"It's not enough for those of us who you protect to simply say 'thank you,' " Peterson said.
Joering, 39, and Morelli, 54, were shot and killed after responding to a 911 hang-up call.
The incident, said Heinz von Eckartsberg, Dublin's police chief, is "still very fresh in our hearts."
The support that followed on a local, state, national and even international level was overwhelming, von Eckartsberg said.
Morbitzer thanked all of the officers for supplementing Westerville's police force after the deaths of Joering and Morelli.
"You can't possibly know what that provided for our folks in their time of need," he said.
Von Eckartsberg was among those Morbitzer thanked by name for their immediate response.
"Without his support, I don't know how we would have gotten through this," he said.
Morelli and Joering just wanted to serve others, Morbitzer said.
In recognition of their service and in partnership with Nationwide Children's Hospital, Choices and Concord Health, a domestic violence center will open in Westerville in tribute to Joering and Morelli, Morbitzer said.