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Family Honors Fallen Oklahoma Sheriff

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A family honors their father who was the last Oklahoma sheriff to be killed in the line of duty. A family honors their father who was the last Oklahoma sheriff to be killed in the line of duty.

Jessica and Wyatt Woodrell will soon graduate from college and their two siblings are reaching life milestones too.

Jessica said they are reminded on each occasion that an important piece is missing.

“It’s just that part like I wonder what my dad would say about it,” she explained.

On October 13, 2001, their dad, Pawnee County Sheriff Dwight Woodrell, was checking out suspicious activity at a business near Cleveland, Oklahoma. And police said he called for backup, but when it arrived Sheriff Woodrell was in his car and had been shot several times.

The primary suspect, James C. Taylor, was sentenced to life in prison for the sheriff's murder.

“It’s not just I don’t have a dad. It’s someone took my dad from me and for no reason just for doing what he loved, his job. And you can’t really fathom why someone would do that,” she said.

This week will be tough for the Woodrell family as the 15th anniversary of his death approaches, but they've found some comfort in the good they're doing to remember him. Next weekend is "Dad's Run 5K” - which will raise money for scholarships awarded in the sheriff's name to a senior at Cleveland High School. The money raised from the event will cover scholarships for the next five years.

“By doing that we can celebrate his life and then celebrate someone else’s future at the same time,” Jessica added.

The run is set for the morning of October 15 in Cleveland, Oklahoma, circling different locations that are meaningful to Sheriff Woodrell’s family.

If you can't go, there are other ways you can honor Sheriff Woodrell through a virtual run or an option to stay home and still contribute.

For all information about the event and the scholarship, click here.

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