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Final Tribute To Fallen Topeka Officers Now in Stone

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TOPEKA, Kan. - Two fallen Topeka Police Department officers names are carved into stone Wednesday.

It is about a two hour process that involves drilling under a winter sun and a little painting of the letters in the names of  Corporal David Gogian and Officer Jeff Atherly.

"It's horrible. It's a very depressing feeling to know that somebody else is going to go through those feelings that I went through," Yaslin Howey said.

Howey is the daughter of Officer Jeff Howey, who died in a helicopter crash in 2000.

Howey said she came to the Law Enforcement Center in Topeka, where the memorial is erected, to give these families a shoulder to lean on. The father of Officer Joey Bohlender, another officer killed in that same helicopter crash, was also there for the same reasons.

"It does make it easier," Charles Bohlender said about all the support. "It doesn't solve the problem. You don't ever get over it," he said.

Atherly was 29 years old and Gogian was 50 years old. Both were shot on Dec. 16 when they were called to check on a suspicious car.  A man in the car shot both officers.  The gunman later died in a shootout with police.

Stephen Evans helped collect funds for both families.  He is the president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 3.  He said the hope is to never forget, even after the paint dries.

"It actually will start a little bit of closure and know that they will not be forgotten. You cannot erase anything off of marble," Evans said.

Evans said they hope to send Atherly and Gogian's families to Washington D.C. in May to see their loved ones' names engraved at a memorial there.

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email: gia.vang@wdaftv4.com

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