On Friday August 10, 2018, K-9 Officer Mathew Hazelton’s wife, Jennifer, with his daughter Ava and their family and friends, Mayor Wilfred Rosas, Dunkirk Police Chief David Ortolano, Dunkirk Fire Chief Mike Edwards, Dunkirk Police Officers with their family members, Dunkirk Firefighters, City Hall personnel as well as members of the community gathered in front of Dunkirk Police Headquarters to dedicate a memorial permanently placed outside of Police Headquarter at City Hall. After the ceremony US Rep. Tom Reed stopped to pay tribute to Matthew and he presented Jennifer and Ava with a proclamation and flag.
Chief Ortolano began the ceremony with:
“Welcome, we are here today to honor K-9 Officer Matthew Hazelton on the one year anniversary of his last call and end of watch services. One year ago right here at CentralAve./4th Street, there were two fire trucks with a flag hoisted high over the intersection in memory of Matt as the funeral procession passed under them. Our hearts were broken on that day and they still are today one year later.
Matthew L. Hazelton was an amazing husband, father, son and Police Officer. He served the City of Dunkirk Police Department for over 14 years. He was our K-9 Officer and a member of our SRT Tactical Team and the City Fire & Police Departments Underwater Rescue Team. Matthew served this community with Dedication, Integrity, Honor and Respect. He truly was one of the greatest Officers to ever wear a Dunkirk Police Department Badge.
After Matt’s services we started thinking about setting up a permanent memorial in memory of him. At the same time, like a ray of sunshine from heaven a City resident who wished to remain anonymous came to the Chief’s Office and made a very generous donation and wished that we would use it to do something in memory of Matt. Lt. Mark Timmerman, Sgt. Mark Gruber and D/Sgt. Dan Manzella and myself, started plans for a permanent memorial to be set in front of Police HQ. We entrusted the memorial plaque to Cody Britton of Southpaw Signs and the memorial stand to City Welder/Fabricator Ken Sek. Yesterday morning with the plaque in hand Ken Sek and City Mechanic Jason Schrantz put the finishing touches by attaching the plaque to the memorial stand. City Custodian Lou Polichetti trimmed the grass and tree and wrapped the blue line flag around it awaiting the unveiling today. And in a few minutes when we unveil the Memorial Plaque you will see what an amazing job Cody and Ken did.
We know that we have an angel above looking over each and every one of us. There is a hole in our hearts that can never be filled. Matthew will always be a part of us, he will always be in our hearts and never be forgotten.”
Mayor Willie Rosas then read a proclamation (featured below) to his family and our Community and to honor him the Mayor declared Friday August 10th 2018 as Matthew L. Hazelton day in the City of Dunkirk. The Mayor added how proud he was of Matthew and the entire Police Department and he presented the proclamation to Matt’s wife Jennifer and daughter Ava.
Matt’s wife Jennifer thanked everyone for all the support for her family and for paying tribute to him with this lasting memorial.
Jennifer’s beautiful words:
“Thank you all for being here today. It has been an emotionally overwhelming year for our family. But, we have had the most amazing group of people to help us through. Matt would be proud of this memorial as it is a symbol of the officer he strived to be every day. His legacy will always be that he touched so many lives in so many ways as well as being an amazing son, brother, husband, father, co-worker and friend. Our family, Ava and I would like to thank you for honoring Matt in this way. It means the world to us that all of you are here today and that this memorial will be here as a lasting tribute to the man we love.”
Jennifer and Ava removed the thin blue line flag to unveil the memorial.