Bob Jones University hosted the inaugural Allen Jacobs Memorial Prayer Breakfast at 7 a.m. on March 16.
More than 200 people attended the breakfast, with the majority being law enforcement officers. The breakfast was without charge for law enforcement officers, but other attendees sponsored tables.
Randy Page, public relations director for BJU, said he was astounded by all the positive feedback BJU received from law enforcement.
Page said BJU was happy to show its appreciation for local law enforcement, as well as show criminal justice majors that their university supports their career choice.
Allen Jacobs was a police officer who served the city of Greenville for four and a half years before he was shot and killed while on duty a year ago.
The death of Officer Jacobs was felt throughout the community as Jacobs was the first officer to die in the line of duty since 1996.
Jacobs’ parents, Drs. Don and Tammie Jacobs, are both faculty members at BJU. After the death of Allen Jacobs, Steve Pettit, BJU president, announced the Allen Jacobs Scholarship Fund and his desire to hold an annual breakfast in honor of Jacobs.
The inaugural Allen Jacobs Memorial Prayer Breakfast was hosted by BJU with significant help from the Criminal Justice Association.
The week of the breakfast, BJU flew thin blue line flags on the center campus flagpoles and lit the main fountain blue to honor law enforcement, an idea suggested by the Criminal Justice Association.
Tyler Knutson, vice president of the Criminal Justice Association, said, “The Criminal Justice Association is honored to participate in this important memorial event. Allen Jacobs lived a hero’s life and died a hero’s death.
“He pursued justice and exercised compassion throughout his entire career in order to make his community and his country a better, safer place,” Knutson said. “Those of us in the criminal justice program could only hope to become half of the officer that Allen Jacobs lived his life to be.”
The event lasted an hour The emcee for the event was Nigel Robertson, an award-winning journalist from local NBC affiliate WYFF 4.
Pettit opened the event with prayer and was followed by Robertson who recognized the Greenville Police Department Color Guard who presented the colors and conducted a memorial table ceremony.
The ceremony honored law enforcement officers from the Upstate who have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty.
The memorial table’s place setting symbolized the missing law enforcement officers.
The table was set for only one person with an empty chair, in order to represent that there are many officers currently not with us.
A white tablecloth represented purity of the officer’s intentions to serve the community, and a lit candle represented their spirit to serve.
An inverted glass represented how they could no longer drink with us.
A lemon was placed on the bread plate to represent their bitter end, a red rose was in a glass to represent the officers’ loved ones, and then the salt on the plate represented their tears.
Finally, a blue ribbon was tied around the vase to represent the “Thin Blue Line.”
Awards were given to Sgt. Michael Yearout, Sgt. Patrick W. Swift and Master Deputy Michael S. Rainey to honor their service.
The Allen Jacobs Award of Valor, the highest award given at the breakfast, was given to Officer Harold Lee Moon Jr. to honor his calmness in de-escalating a hostage situation in the emergency room of Greenville Memorial Hospital.
Money raised by the event will cover the cost of the breakfast and help fund the Allen Jacobs Scholarship Fund.