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Ceremony honors Officer Jason Goodding whose name is added to memorial wall in Salem

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Former Sherwood resident Jason Goodding is honored as the 183rd officer killed since the 1880s.

COURTESY OF SHERWOOD CITY MANAGER JOE GALL. - Jason Goodding, 39, a Sherwood High School graduate and officer with the Seaside Police Department was shot and killed in February 2016 on Broadway in downtown Seaside while taking a man into custody on a warrant. His name is the latest to be added to a memorial wall in Salem.SALEM — A misty-eyed Seaside Police Chief Dave Ham was in the middle of thanking Sgt. Jason Goodding's family May 2 when he was abruptly interrupted.

"They're really helping me out," he said. "The strength and resiliency I see in your family is amazing, and all the open arms and hugs …"

Suddenly, a puddle of water from the top of a large tent covering the audience before Ham splashed to the ground near the stage.

"Wow. Thanks, Jason," Ham said.

Memories of Goodding were heavily present at the Oregon Public Safety Academy's annual Fallen Law Enforcement Officers' Memorial ceremony. Hundreds of people attended the 80-minute ceremony Tuesday in Salem.

Goodding's name was the 183rd added to a memorial wall that served as a backdrop for the ceremony. The wall recognizes the law enforcement officers in Oregon who have died on the job since the 1880s.

Goodding, 39, was shot and killed in February 2016 on Broadway in downtown Seaside while taking a man into custody on a warrant.

Phillip Ferry, 55, shot Goodding once before Goodding's partner, David Davidson, returned fire and killed Ferry. Goodding died at Providence Seaside Hospital later that night.

Goodding is survived by his wife, Amy, and daughters, Joslyn and Jayden.

"It's been difficult driving by the driveway every day for a year, but I know I don't have it half as bad as those two little girls and the wife and mom, Amy," said Clatsop County Sheriff Tom Bergin, the Gooddings' next-door neighbor. "It strikes you at the core, it really does. Jason was a smart man, a young, just a steadfast individual that was not only a good neighbor, a good friend, but a great cop."

Honoring the service

Bagpipes, drums, flag presentations with the American and Canadian national anthems, a roll call of all 183 slain officers and a 21-gun salute complemented other remarks made by officers, family and public officials.

Guided by law enforcement officers from throughout the state, families of slain officers filed into their seats to begin the ceremony. Jerry Gaidos, a former chaplain for Clatsop County law enforcement who consoled local officers after Goodding's death, said a prayer. Officer Kenneth J. Henson II of the Lakewood Police Department in Washington state gave a speech that highlighted how he and his department rallied to help the families of lost peers.

COURTESY OF SHERWOOD CITY MANAGER JOE GALL  - A riderless horse is escorted during a ceremony held May 2 in Salem in honor of slain Seaside Officer Jason Goodding during the Oregon Public Safety Academy's annual Fallen Law Enforcement Officers Memorial ceremony.
'Daily struggle'

Then, it was Ham's turn.

"It's been a long 14 months since Jason's been gone," he said. "It's a daily struggle to keep from crying and missing my friend."

Ham delved in to the department's struggles with personnel changes in the past 14 months, Goodding's death being the most dramatic.

"Out of the struggle came the hiring of new faces," Ham said. "All of these personnel changes have brought a new and fresh face to the department and a level of excitement that I know Jason would be proud of. His excitement for the job is reflected in the leadership of our department now and in the faces of our current staff."

Amy's letter

During the speech, Ham read a letter Amy Goodding wrote to the Seaside Police Department shortly after her husband's death.

It described how an emotionally exhausted Goodding would often fall into bed fully clothed after a long day at work, only to take a call in the middle of the night to answer an officer's question. He would often confide in Amy when he felt helpless at a call on a particular day and wasn't sure if he made the right decision in a given situation.

"He believed that his body was his weapon and his mind his tool to protect and serve his family in service and hope," the letter read. "There is nothing he wouldn't give for you, and he worked himself into the ground trying to take care of everyone but himself."

Family letters

The police chief also read letters the family wrote specifically for the memorial.

"His loss has created an emptiness in our lives that can never be filled," one of Amy's letters read. "The hopes and dreams of our family have been shattered, and we are still trying to put the pieces back together. Jason will always be my husband, and he will never stop being Jayden and Joslyn's daddy. But now he will be our guardian angel. We will make the best of this life that we are now going to have to face without him."

Joslyn and Jayden wrote about how much they love and miss their father. Joslyn added she wished she listened to more of his basketball coaching advice. Amy Goodding later helped lay wreaths on stands in front of the wall.

One moment in Ham's speech perhaps illustrated the struggle and perseverance of Goodding's family and community, both last year and now.

"Thank you to everyone who continues to support the Goodding family and the Seaside Police Department as we navigate through this hard time and we continue to grow to what has become our future," Ham said in a progressively soft voice.

"Excuse me," he then said, collecting himself.COURTESY OF SHERWOOD CITY MANAGER JOE GALL - A new Oregon highway plaque was unveiled May 2 in Salem containing the name of Seaside Police Officer Jason Goodding who was killed in the line of duty in Seaside in February 2016. Sherwood representatives attending the ceremony included Mayor Krisanna Clark, Police Chief Jeff Groth, Police Capt. Mark Daniel and City Manager Joe Gall.