Ellsworth gets memorial for fallen officer

Published: May. 31, 2023 at 6:16 PM EDT
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ELLSWORTH, Maine (WABI) - Off the quiet streets of Ellsworth, one spot is buzzing with activity.

Just a few days after honoring folks on Memorial Day, the sentiment continues as a different kind of memorial comes to town.

‘Saving a Hero’s Place’ is a Texas-based non-profit that builds honor chairs to honor fallen first responders.

Eli Gomez of Saving a Hero’s Place said, “Tommy was a police officer in San Antonio. And when Officer Collier was killed in the line of duty, it bothered him really bad. And he just felt like he needed to do something. So, it was just random, randomly reached out to the MIT police department and said, ‘hey, can we do this for you?’ Tommy has a background in woodworking as a hobby. And he’s built some chairs for our department for San Antonio Police Department before and he’s like, just, ‘we can just build you a chair.’”

Tommy Capell started with making similar chairs for fallen San Antonio officers, then MIT Police Officer, Sean Collier was killed on duty by the Boston Bombers, and the Honor Chair began.

Now, one will be presented in Ellsworth, in memory of Deputy Luke Gross of the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department.

Hancock Country Sheriff, Scott Kane said, “Luke was well liked and respected in the community. In the end, they’ve rallied around the family. They’ve rallied around the sheriff’s office because we lost a family member here too. As they say he was well respected, well liked and it’s a great loss to us. It’s a representation that he’ll never be forgotten.”

In 2021, Gross responded to a called of a vehicle off the road and was stuck by another vehicle on Route 3 and killed.

Now, Saving a Hero’s Place is in Ellsworth to save Deputy Gross a seat.

Capell, his wife, and a few others, traveled from Texas to Maine, to build the organization’s 256th chair.

Chairs are now located in 27 states in the U-S and one international one in Columbia.

Gomez added, “For us, historically, in the past, we used to build the chairs and then drive them to the to the agency and presented today. But now, this is our first chair build that we’re doing out of state that we’re actually building the chairs on site. It’s amazing. It’s very emotional for us and for them as well because the coworkers and the family gets to participate and it’s just something to help them heal.”