GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - It was one of the worst moments in the history of the Gulfport Police Department. On August 14, 2008, Lieutenant Rob Curry's motorcycle got hit on Highway 49. Curry did not survive the accident.
One year later, Curry lives on, in the hearts and the souls of Gulfport's law enforcement community.
"It's something that hurts us," Chris Loposser said.
He joined the police department at the same time Lt. Curry did.
"It's not... just today, August 14, that we remember the passing of Lt. Robert Curry. We remember that every day. And it stays with the men and women of the police department, because of the influence that he had with us and on the people that we serve."
The drivers who pass the Highway 49 post office probably have no idea how significant that location is to the Gulfport Police Department.
"It's something that we see daily. The officers pass through there. It always crosses their minds," Loposser said.
If motorists got out of the cars and looked at two markers under a pair of oak trees, they'd sense the pain, and the love that everybody in the department still has for badge number 107.
"He was a professional that always sought to find the best in people and the best in the people that worked with him and for him," remembered Loposser.
On a sunny day one year ago, Rob Curry died while patrolling the streets of a city that meant so much to him. On the first anniversary of his death, a bouquet of flowers adorned a cross, and red roses sat at the base of a second memorial marker. Both were placed in front of the post office, the spot where he died. One of the markers had a picture of Curry. Under it was a sign with a handwritten message that said in small letters, "We miss you."
His friends echoed that sentiment.
"As good a professional as he was, and as many accolades as he obtained in his career, he was a better friend and a better family man than anybody could even tell," said Loposser.
A different sort of message will appear on a building at the corner of 15th Street and 23rd Avenue. When the police department relocates its headquarters back to downtown Gulfport, the building the officers move into will be called the Robert J. Curry Public Safety Center. That building should open in the fall of 2010.
The tribute is a reminder to everybody in Gulfport that while Lt. Curry may no longer be with us, he'll never be forgotten.
Gulfport police officers scheduled a private candlelight vigil Friday night at the Coalville cemetery where Lt. Curry is buried. They felt that would be an appropriate way to honor their friend.