Monday, December 12, 2016
|The family of Mark Brown in front of officers' memorial|
Lori Brown-Appel center, daughter Hannah and son Alex
By Diane Hettrick
When Shoreline Deputy Mark Brown died February 27, 1999 after a vehicle accident while responding to a police call, he left behind his wife Lori and their two small children, Hannah 9 and Alex 5.
Mark was raised in Shoreline and graduated from Shorewood high school. He had been a King County deputy for ten years, with two years of that in the motorcycle patrol.
On December 2, 2016, Lori, Hannah, and Alex were present at the King County courthouse for the unveiling of the memorial to fallen King County police officers.
I asked Lori what the memorial meant to her and their children.
The memorial really meant a lot. Remembrance is very special to me now because it is all that I have of Mark. For a long time the Police side of Mark was hard for me because it was what took him from us.
Even so, it is what he accomplished in his job and the fact that he gave so much of himself to his job that makes me proud. He was a true hero and the memorial is a beautiful tribute to all the officers that gave their lives serving their community. It was very special to have our children there so they could have a chance to connect with the part of their dad that was a community hero.
Mark was part of the original Shoreline police department, when a "community" police department was a relatively new concept. I asked Lori what her thoughts were on what it means to be a police officer now and what it means for police families.
Mark was very involved in community policing and was a resource officer for the Shoreline Schools. It wasn't always easy having him work in the community we lived in but after he died I got to see the impact of what he did for the Shoreline Community.
The stories people told me and the cards and letters from people in the community, especially the children, were so special and meaningful.
The state of our country in regard to Police Officers now is very scary to me. My heart breaks every time I hear of another officer murdered because of his job.
I believe that the majority of officers are like Mark and make a positive difference in the lives of the people in their community. This memorial was a reminder of the sacrifice officers make and the impact on families left behind. Children, like mine, lose the privilege of having their dad in their lives.
|Memorial to fallen officers|
Mark Brown's badge is top left
After living in Shoreline, Mark, Lori and the children moved to Snohomish in 1989. Not quite a year later Mark died.
One of the things that has been a crucial part of my grieving and healing process is exercise. After Mark died it was more healing for me than counseling. I would run for miles because that was the only time I felt clear headed and somewhat myself.
This eventually led to my small hobby business Stilly Community Zumba and Fitness. Along with three other instructors we teach five Zumba classes, two Core Fitness classes and one yoga class per week. Fitness is my passion and I love what I do.
Lori remarried and had four more children. One of the children died of a heart defect when he was seven months old. The family moved to Arlington after that for a change of scene.
She currently lives with her husband, their three children 15, 12, and 7 and two pug dogs in a log house in Arlington on five acres.
I do miss the people and the community of Shoreline but I love living in a small town. I love the slower pace, the mountains and the peace in the nature that I am surrounded by. I am at home here.
As well as her business, she is on the board of the Arlington Runners Club which puts on 5k/10k races in their community to raise money for charities.
Hannah is 27 and married. She works at Everett Community College as an eLearning Program Specialist. She is also getting her masters degree at Western Washington University in Adult and higher education.
Alex is 24 and works for Don-Jon in Seattle and is also a Manager at Zumiez. His passion is the outdoors. He loves snow boarding, long boarding and hiking.
They were both very touched by the memorial. I think it was a wonderful opportunity for them to connect with their dad.
This is a quote that Alex posted to social media after the memorial
"Thinking of you today dad. I wish we would've had more time together but i believe ill see you again one day. I hope the person i am makes you proud and that i can be a light in the lives of others like you were. Until the day we meet again your memory gives me strength."