Construction begins on Fresno County Sheriff's Memorial

Gabe Ferris Image
Wednesday, May 22, 2024
Construction begins on Fresno County Sheriff's Memorial
Construction has officially started on the Fresno County Sheriff's Memorial. It's meant to honor the lives of all employees who have died in the line of duty.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Several Fresno County officials shoveled dirt on Wednesday, breaking ground on a new memorial to honor fallen county sheriffs and correctional officers.

"This is going to be a memorial we can be proud of," Fresno County Sheriff John Zanoni said. "And it will serve its purpose to honor those whose names are on it."

When it opens near the corner of Belmont and Armstrong avenues, it will honor 21 people who gave their lives while serving the Fresno community.

Heather Lancaster-Ferreira's late husband, Joshua, is on the wall of honor.

"He was just larger than life," Lancaster-Ferreira said. "He had the biggest heart. He truly loved his job. I mean, all through college, he made it known he was going to be a police officer."

Joshua Lancaster reached that goal, serving as a sheriff's deputy for two years. He was 27 when he died in 2003

"He was actually killed on midnight of the day we were supposed to move into our brand-new house," Lancaster-Ferreira said.

Now, nearly 21 years to the day since the deputy's end of watch, his brother says he still talks to him and is looking forward to the day he can visit the memorial.

"I just talk to him in my head," Jason Lancaster said. "I would like to just have a place to be able to come and peacefully see and sit."

Deputy Lancaster and 20 of his colleagues are gone but not forgotten. Video provided by the Fresno County Sheriff's Office shows the new memorial will feature their names, a waterfall, and an eternal flame.

There will also be a sculpture of a lion -- a peacekeeper of the fallen deputies, organizers say, guarding those who guarded Fresno.

"We must honor those whose names are on the wall, and we must always remember never to forget," Sheriff Zanoni said.

Construction is now underway on the memorial and it will open to the public next May.

You can learn more about the memorial or donate to the project on their website.

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