Mooresville Police Officer Jordan Sheldon was a frequent presence in one of the classrooms at Langtree Charter Academy.
Sheldon, who was gunned down in a traffic stop in May, was part of the Adopt-A-Cop program at the school and often visited with the students in the class that “adopted” him.
See all the photos at the bottom of this article
Sheldon’s memory will now resonate with the entire student body thanks to a simple wooden marker at the entrance to a newly-created nature trail behind the school.
The trail, nearly a mile long, was dedicated Friday with a ribbon ceremony, and a group walk by all of the students at the school.
The marker contains a photo of Sheldon with his K-9 partner Ramon and proclaims it to be the Jordan H. Sheldon Memorial Trail. The marker was donated by Forged Timber Co. and SunTrust Bank.
Langtree principal Shane Lis said this trail was the idea of a former teacher at the school, and after Sheldon’s death in May, the work began in earnest in June. And it was a true community effort, involving parents, students, faculty and staff and volunteers from the area, he said.
His daughter, sixth-grader Maggie Lis, said she and her brother, Patrick, a third-grader, joined the effort, helping clear the trail and put down mulch. “The first couple of weeks every day we cleaned out the area. By the fourth or fifth week, we put mulch down,” she said.
She and her brother, along with Briabella and Dominic Falzone, joined MPD Capt. Frank Falzone in cutting the ribbon.
Maggie said seeing the end result is thrilling. “I am proud of it,” she said.
Briabella and her brother, the children of Frank Falzone, said they worked on it to honor their father’s colleague, Sheldon.
The girls, both sixth graders and their brothers, both third graders, joined their classmates to take the first walk on the trail.
Shane Lis said volunteers spent four or five hours a day, five days a week preparing the trail.
Dedicating it to Sheldon, he said, was the right thing to do, to honor the officer but also to recognize everyone involved in public service. “Police officers, first responders, EMTs and public school teachers are all public servants,” he said. “As students at Langtree, you have an opportunity to work with a public servant every day. Public servants make sacrifices, their time, their energy and sometimes their lives.”
Lis said this trail and, the work that went into it, is not just in honor of Sheldon but all of those that are a part of the police department. “It’s for the dispatchers, all of the folks behind the scenes that work for our police force.”
Falzone said he would have been a part of the creation of the trail for the “sheer educational purposes,” but in light of Sheldon’s death, “it’s even more special meaning to me.”
He said the trail is a prime example of the community’s support of the police department. “We are just very fortunate, I am as a person and us as the police department, to have such a relationship with all of you and the public in general,” he said.
Falzone said the trail is a reminder of more than Sheldon’s legacy with the department. “This is one constant reminder, or is going to be one constant reminder of the support we have in this community and we love you all. Thank you,” he said.