Ultimate sacrifice is remembered
Blue skies and sunshine provided the perfect backdrop for a special highway naming ceremony that was held last Tuesday afternoon south of Cassville.
A large crowd attended the event, which was held in honor of slain Barry County Sheriff's Deputy Christopher Lee Castetter, whose name now graces a portion of Highway 112. Castetter was shot and killed in the line of duty on Nov. 27, 1996, while responding to a suspicious vehicle call. Last Friday marked the 12th anniversary of his murder.
In addition to a large number of law enforcement officers, Castetter's widow, Christine Speno, and Castetter's four brothers and his mother and father were also in attendance at the Nov. 25 ceremony.
Speno addressed the crowd and spoke about her late husband and his passion for law enforcement.
"As he's guarding the gates of heaven, he's looking down and smiling proudly at this memorial that honors his service and dedication," said Speno. "Chris was a simple man, and he was ever so proud to wear his badge and all it stood for.
"Every time you drive down the Deputy Christopher Lee Castetter Memorial Highway, I hope you won't think of the tragedy of his death but you'll remember the very special man who gave his life to his community," Speno added.
Rep. David Sater sponsored House Bill 56, which designates a portion of Highway 112 from the intersection of Highway 76 south to the intersection of Highway AA in Barry County as the "Deputy Christopher Lee Castetter Memorial Highway." Sater attended last Tuesday's ceremony and spoke briefly.
"We owe Christopher a great deal of gratitude for his service to us," said Sater. "I hope this highway will be a reminder to all that we should be forever thankful to all our officers. Christopher paid the ultimate sacrifice for each one of you."
Mayor Tracy Holle and Sheriff Mick Epperly also addressed the crowd and spoke of Castetter's legacy of service.
"Officer Castetter gave the ultimate sacrifice for the safety that we enjoy today," said Holle. "This is a reminder to all of us in the community to never forget the service our law enforcement provides to us 24/7."
Epperly described the feeling of family and brotherhood that exists between members of the law enforcement community.
"It's an honor to have these signs up representing one of our law enforcement family," said Epperly. "Chris' memory will always live on in Barry County as a very dedicate officer. We'll never forget him in our hearts. He'll always be there."
The Missouri Department of Transportation helped coordinate last week's ceremony. Barry County businesses contributed money to pay for the two memorial signs that were unveiled and now permanently mark the highway in Castetter's honor. The Barry County Sheriff's Department coordinated the fundraising efforts.