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Winona County memorial service honors fallen officers killed in the line of duty

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WINONA, Minn. (KTTC) -

May 16 is Law Enforcement Memorial Day in Winona, a day to honor the people who've lost their lives while protecting the community.

A crowd gathered outside the city's Law Enforcement Center Wednesday afternoon to remember the "end of watch" for three heroes.

They remembered Officer Mathew Hamilton who died in 1874, Deputy John Schneider who died in 1980, and Corporal Ted Foss who died in 2000.

These three swore to protect and serve despite the dangers and the high price.

"Ted Foss, went off [to a] state patrol routine highway stop. Nothing about it, except somebody drifted off the road with a truck and his life was over," said retired FBI Agent Dave Price, who knew Foss and Schneider.

"John Schneider and Vern Spitzer  got a call, man with a gun, bad situation, and they left here on a beautiful day," said Price. "On the way they talked to each other about what a beautiful day it was, and it was too beautiful a day to die. A few minutes later, John was dead."

Law Enforcement memorial day is a day to remember the sacrifices women and men made to protect the citizens of Winona, and it's a day to honor those who put their lives on the line.

"Today we honor investigator John Schneider from the Winona County Sheriff's Department, who was shot and killed on September 7th, 1980. Corporal Ted Foss who was killed in August 31st of the year 2000, And also Officer Mathew Hamilton who died of a heart attack on December 3rd 1874 near the Amtrak station after struggling with an unruly person," said Retired Winona County Sheriff 'Office Deputy Steve Baumgart.

"To these fallen officers and their families, and to all law enforcement officers who have served or currently served in Winona county, my staff and the county attorneys office and I thank you for your service," said Winona County Attorney Karin Sonneman.

According to the National Law Enforcement Officer's Memorial, more than 135 federal, state and local law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty in 2017.

The event was part of  Law Enforcement Officers Memorial week and it's open to the public.

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