To the editor,

This is an open letter to the people of Grady County regarding the recent loss of Chickasha Firefighter, Destry Horton, from burns he received on March 1, 2006 while fighting wildfires near Duncan. I am so ashamed of how some people are belly-aching about the tribute paid to Destry on the day of this funeral.

What is your problem? You have some nerve to complain about how a hero was honored. I have heard comments that should never have been thought, let alone been spoken out loud. Your insensitivity and ignorance are astounding.

I personaly didn’t know Destry very well. But he was part of the same brotherhood of firefighters that my husband belongs to, so that made him family to me and a LOT of other people. And when we lose one of ours, it hurts each and every one of us in ways that most people cannot even begin to imagine. The circumstances of Destry’s death don’t happen that often, and I thank God that it doesn’t. My prayer is that it never happens again. But it will, somewhere, and I promise you-tribute will be paid.

Whether you like it or not, the fire service is rich in tradition, from playing pranks on Probies to honoring fallen comrades. We’d much rather play pranks on each other, but when a member of our “family” dies, honor and respect ARE warranted in whatever way seems fitting for the circumstances.

For those of you who feel there was too much “fanfare,” “martyrdom,” “tackiness,” or “unnecessary politics” involved in Destry’s funeral, you need an attitude adjustment. What we did here on earth to honor Destry wasn’t a drop in the bucket compared to the reception he received in Heaven, but it was the best we could offer in our humble way.

Montez Wilkerson

proud wife of a retired Chickasha Firefighter


To the editor,

This is in reference to Officer Parks.

I am not making excuses for what he did.

I don’t drink and drive, but there is such a thing as professional courtesy, whether it is a police officer, trooper, deputy, fireman, or federal officer.

Although some officers don’t seem to have been trained the way myself and other officers before had been, and some have forgotten that part, or have forgotten what it was like on the street at all.

The arresting officer did not have to make the decision alone, others made it with him. That situation with Parks could have been handled differently.

I understand there were people there asking to take him home.

An officer has always had the power to not arrest at the time or it was their decision, until it was overruled by someone higher up.

There have been others in our Police Department that have done worse, and their names were never published, and in other departments, but Parks had to be in the Chickasha Express-Star several days and on national news.


Your editorial stated that “It was good to see that Chickasha’s officers are governed by the same laws as they enforce.”

Every law enforcement officer, city, county, state or federal are, but you make it sound like you didn’t think our officers were.

And, there is what you call an unwritten thin blue line with law enforcement.

There has to be because we are brothers, and no one will stand up for law enforcement except cops.

If you have not been one, you don’t know what it is like doing the job, being watched over by civilians, city fathers and you supervisor, like they are waiting for you to do something wrong.

Another way to have handled this situation would have been to have someone take him home, like the people there who were offering to take him home.

And then the officers involved, write reports and send them to the assistant chief and cheif for review and to be handled internally, if possible.

Now I know you’re thinking do that just because he is a cop.


What you don’t know are the civilians, that have been stopped for drunk driving and other arrestable offenses, and have been released to someone to take them home, instead of arresting them.

Officers need to have the same chance at being taken home.

I spent thirty plus years involved with Chickasha PD, from a reserve to a full time officer. I have seen it done, and have let some go myself when there was someone to drive them home, instead of having stats.

There are times when this occasion has occurred. Law enforcement across the nation has had the highest cases of alcoholism, suicide and divorces than any other profession because of the job we do.

The officer’s decision has a great impact on the other persons life.

Your editorial also says that according to reports, Parks is a good officer. Well I have worked side by side with him for several years, and I know he is.

Next time Joe Civilian gets arrested for drunk driving or public drunk, put their names and faces all over the front page of the paper and television.

No one is above the law, just try to have some compassion some time.

I am proud of my years of service with the police department, and I retired with a good reputation. You have to love the job to do it, it can’t by just a pay check.

Would you do it?

Put your life on the line, think about it.

Retired CPD

Leroy Mayhugh

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