By Patrick Cronin
Hampton Union, Thursday, April 19, 2012
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
HAMPTON -- Thousands lined downtown streets Thursday to pay respect to slain Greenland Police Chief Michael Maloney, who was killed in the line of duty while pulling a fellow officer to safety.
“Today is a celebration of life,” said Desi Lanio, owner of the 401 Tavern.
Prior to the procession of thousands of police officers from across the country making its way down Route 1, Lanio was putting up signs in front of his business.
One said, “Thank-you for protecting the American Families plus dreams.”
“Chief Mike leaves us with a lesson about appreciation of life, family and country,” Lanio said. “He was a true hero.”
Ian Johnston and Jane Dockham said they came to honor a hero and friend.
Dockham, a Rye resident and widow of Rye Police Chief Bud Dockham, said, “My late husband was police chief in Rye, and Mike worked for him for at least one or two summers. He was a good guy, a great officer and it's upsetting.”
Dockham said what happened was a tragedy especially because Maloney was so close to retirement. Maloney was set to retire on April 20.
Johnston called the huge crowds gathered along Route 1 “unbelievable” and praised the “true brotherhood” among police.
Glen French, former president of the Hampton Chamber of Commerce, said he is still trying to make sense of the senseless tragedy.
“These types of things don't happen here,” French said. “I want to be here and share my grief with others. This is a tremendous loss.”
French said Maloney was a “bona fide hero. He put his life on the line to save others. Not just for the police work, but for his comrades. The fact that he stepped out to protect them and save their lives is laudable.”
Exeter resident Kim Doucette said her neighbor is a Greenland police officer, and she wanted to support him and the other officers.
“We just wanted to show respect to all of the officers and let them know we appreciate everything they do,” said Doucette, who was with her son Brian, an eighth-grader.
“It's just terrible what happened,” Brian Doucette said.
Barbara Delbuono, of North Hampton, said she wasn't close to Maloney, who began his career in North Hampton and served the town as chief of police before moving to Greenland, but she remembered him for “acts of kindness.”
She recalled one time when she was stranded on the side of the road with car trouble, and Maloney stopped to see if she was okay.
“He helped me out, and I will never forget that,” Delbuono. “May God bless him.”
Dean Wunderly joined other members of the Patriot Guard Riders, who all volunteered to hold American flags along Route 1 from Hannaford supermarket to Park Avenue.
“We just wanted to contribute any way we can,” Wunderly said.