Sebring honors police officer at memorial service

By GAYLE E. BLAIR, the Alliance Review, January 23, 2018

Sebring OH -- Longtime Sebring police officer Danny Guy was honored with a community memorial service Tuesday at Sebring McKinley High School. 

Guy passed away at his home Jan. 9. 

Police Chief Ray Harris, with the assistance of Chris Brown and the staff at Gednetz-Ruzek-Brown Funeral Home, planned the service to honor Guy and help give the school students and community comfort. 

The subdued crowd filed in as soft music played in the background. A large portrait of Guy stood near the podium along with the police bike he frequently rode around town. Floral tributes also graced the podium. 

The gymnasium was filled with students from the elementary, middle school and high school, fellow police officers, dispatchers and emergency response personnel along with community members. 

“Unbelievable,” said Harris as he first stepped up to the podium. “It’s unbelievable that this community has so much love for officer Danny Guy.” 

The crowd then rose and said the Pledge of Allegiance. 

“On behalf of his family and the community, we have all had the pleasure of sharing Danny’s life,” said Harris. “I’d like to thank the school for allowing us to gather and celebrate Danny who worked at the police department for 33 years.” Harris then cited the honors Guy received during his career as a police officer. 

Harris spoke of Guy’s love for children and the way he took it upon himself to be there for the students of Sebring. “The kids looked forward to seeing officer Guy when they arrived and left (school).” Guy also supervised the community improvement program and was the juvenile officer. “He was a true hero to the Sebring community,” said Harris. 

“Some may say that death has brought us here today, but I would disagree,” said Harris. “It’s the life that Danny lived that has brought us here today.” 

Harris referenced the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial with the inscription. “It is not how these officers died that made them heroes, it’s how they lived. And Danny lived for this community. That’s why we’re here today. Heroes receive special honors, and we’re here to show the honor that officer Guy deserves.” 

A recording of “What is a policeman?” by the late radio personality Paul Harvey was played. 

Retired police Sgt. Terry Frasher took the podium and reflected on his relationship with Guy and the impact he made in the community. 

“Twenty-seven years ago Danny Guy started as part-time patrolman when I was still a patrolman,” said Frasher. “Danny had this whole town in his heart. Remember him for what he was; one super individual, his heart and soul was in his job.” 

Retired Police Chief Paul Freer recalled that he met then 15-year-old Danny when he wrote him a citation for smoking. “When he went home to get his dad, he knew he would get worse from his dad than I was going to give him,” said Freer. “When he was 21-years-old, he was interviewed and hired part-time (as a policeman). He did a really good job, worked a lot of hours and had a lot of good customer service.” 

In 1995 when Sebring started the bike patrol through community and business donations that funded the purchase of the bikes, Guy was one of the first to sign on. After Freer retired as chief and took the security job at Copeland Oaks, “Danny always stopped up to see me and make me laugh,” said Freer. 

Freer told the crowd that nobody can predict the future and too often we underestimate the power of what we do. “With the smallest act of caring all of which can have the potential to turn a life around,” said Freer and left with the thought “Those are the memories we have; how did he touch you?” 

Mayor J. Michael Pinkerton recalled the day he administered the oath of office to Guy in 1984 and what they both said. When Pinkerton told Guy that he was now a full-fledged police officer, Guy told him, “It’s not going to change me but it’s everything I ever wanted to do.” 

Pinkerton lauded Guy’s dependability and one could always count on him. 

“When the bike patrol was instituted in 1995 he was one of the first to step up,” said Pinkerton as he recalled driving his car on Vermont Avenue and spotted Guy riding his police bike. “I pulled up and told him he could be riding around in a police car with air conditioning. Danny told me, ‘You can’t get close to people in a car — there might be two or three people outside in a yard and they want to talk. I’m here for service.’” 

Pinkerton concluded, “That job that he had was everything to him, he cherished it and worked it hard.That’s how I remember Danny.” 

Chris Corbi, the former Sebring McKinley High School principal and now director of the district’s online school, recalled, “Six years ago, late summer, I was preparing for my first year as principal in a new community. A man came into my office and I received the best, most sincere welcome. He shook my hand with conviction that he would support me as the principal and be helpful to the students and staff. I saw first hand the joy, the love, the work ethic.” 

Corbi was joined by Guy to greet each student at the front doors (of the school) and made them feel special and important. “He watched over all of us in the school,” said Corbi. “He could have parked and sat in the police car, but Danny was not like that.” 

Corbi recalled how if a student didn’t show up for school and Guy was notified, the student “would magically appear in the office within a few minutes.” 

Guy assisted in utilizing drug dogs, organizing assemblies and formed safety meetings. In addition, he helped the Student Senate adviser with the food drive, many times even delivering the food baskets. 

“Danny Guy working with Sebring Tire and the Springer Family to bring one or two wrecked vehicles to remind the students not to drink and drive,” said Corbi. Guy then arranged for the wrecks to be scrapped and the money donated to the club, Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD). “It wasn’t a job to him, it was a passion,” Corbi concluded. 

Working with the elementary students was also a passion for Guy. B.L. Miller Elementary School Principal Heather Whipkey spoke of what “our perspective of who Danny Guy was to us.” 

She talked about his stories and humor along with his daily safety information. “Kids respected him and he always wanted the kids to be safe and his message will live on,” said Whipkey. 

Harris explained the three-volley salute and taps conducted outside of the gymnasium then, holding his police radio to the microphone in order for everyone to hear, on-duty dispatcher Shawn Hershberger did the last call for officer Guy. 

Guy was born on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, 1963. He was 54 years old at his passing.

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