Hanna Awards: State's bravest police officers honored in life and death

Hanna Awards: State's bravest police officers honored in life and death

BOSTON — On Beacon Hill, those who protect and serve were honored and remembered.

"It is a profoundly special gift that you give every day, all the time," said Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker.

Tragedy led to the 2019 Hanna Awards to honor two officers killed in the line of duty in the same year for the first time in decades. The families of Weymouth Sergeant Michael Chesna and Yarmouth Sergeant Sean Gannon accepted the Medal of Honor.

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"The impact it has had on the family and how, will things ever be right?" said Yarmouth Chief Frank Frederickson.

Yarmouth K-9 Officer Gannon was fatally shot while serving a warrant at a Barnstable home in April 2018. His K-9 Nero was also shot but survived.

Weymouth Sergeant Chesna was fatally shot with his own service weapon after a traffic stop in July 2018.

No officer or police family member was unaffected by the emotional tribute in House chambers.

"To watch them mature, to grow and be resilient, and be positive... it's been remarkable to watch and I'm so immensely proud," said Frederickson.

A dangerous close call in Attleboro last August left the department honored and grateful officers Lou Harrington and Leo McKenzie walked away uninjured after a "traumatic" firefight with a gunman inside a church off Route 1A.

"They go to work every single day not knowing if they're gonna come home because for all intents and purposes, give their life for a complete stranger. That's what it's all about," said Attleboro Police Chief Kyle Heagney.

That spirit of giving is part of the Williamson family legacy. Easton Officer Carlton Williamson received his Hanna Award after preventing a suspect from committing suicide after a reported home invasion. His father, Detective Carlton Williamson on the Boston Police Department received his Hanna Award in 2003.

"It's almost like a transfer of my baton to him. Passing that law enforcement pedigree," said Williamson.

"My dad set the blueprint in regard to always inspiring me to be a police officer, and my mother being encouraging," said Carlton Williamson.

Williamson added, "We also acknowledge the facts that there are not others today that are as fortunate as we are to have their loved ones here, present to receive that award."