A last will and testament isn't something most people like to think about, but Saturday, the organization Wills for Heroes helped close to 70 Wilson County first responders file those important documents.
Following the 10th anniversary of a crash that claimed the lives of two first responders, it was the organization’s way of remembering those lost in the line of duty, and of offering a vital service to those that continue to risk their lives every day.
Lt. detective Ricky Knight and his wife Mindy knew they needed a will and testament.
“If you're in law enforcement, you leave every day not knowing if you're going to come home,” Mindy Knight said.
That's why they went the Wilson County Criminal Justice Center Saturday, where volunteer attorneys provided wills to some 70 first responders and their spouses.
The documents normally cost between $500 and $600, but Wills for Heroes provided them free of charge.
"Just having this weight off your shoulders is wonderful, Knight said. “Knowing that they've done this for us is a big deal to me because we weren't ready."
Saturday's event came just 11 days after the 10-year anniversary of a deadly crash here on Interstate 40 that claimed the lives of sheriff's deputy John Musice and Mt. Juliet police sergeant Jerry Mundy.
“To lose two men at the same time on the same morning, I think that makes everybody stop and realize what can happen,” said Anita Goff, president of the 100 Club of Wilson County, an organization that formed after the deadly crash and sponsored Saturday’s event.
“This is not something that anybody wants to think about, but who needs to think about it more than a first responder,” Goff said.
Mike Kurtz worked alongside Musice at the sheriff's department before becoming an attorney. He spent his Saturday writing will after will, because he knows first-hand what the police, firefighters and EMTs go through every day.
“That's why we want to give back to them so they won't have to take that extra time or spend that extra money that they may or may not have,” Kurtz said.
Nashville attorney Jimmy Musice, some of John Musice also volunteered in honor of his father, Kurtz said.
Anyone who works in law enforcement knows that tomorrow is not guaranteed. As the rest of us put on our jackets or heels and head to the office, police officers tie up their boots, grab their badge and leave their homes knowing that there is a chance they will not be returning that night.
Friends and family in the law enforcement community gathered on Tuesday morning to remember two men who gave their all to protect Wilson County – Mt. Juliet Police Sgt. Jerry Mundy and Wilson County Sheriff’s Deputy John Musice.
To commemorate the 10th anniversary of their deaths, which occurred on July 9, 2003, speakers including Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto, Mt. Juliet Mayor Ed Hagerty, Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan, Mt. Juliet Police Chief James Hambrick, Rich Miller of The 100 Club and former Wilson County Sheriff Terry Ashe joined together to lead the community in a remembrance ceremony at the monument erected in their honor at Charlie Daniels Park.
Mundy and Musice were killed on Interstate 40 while laying down spike strips to stop a fleeing vehicle, driven by Fallon Tallent, which was being pursued by other officers. Ashe said that while the incident would not be forgotten, his hope was that emphasis would be placed on how the men lived “not how they died.”
“I hope we remember how these two great men lived. Mundy loved baseball. Musice loved animals,” he said.
Mayor Hagerty continued by sharing a story about how Mundy would frequently act as an advocate for the police department whenever budget time rolled around. “If we can learn anything from Sgt. Mundy’s life I think it would be to emulate him,” he said.
Many of those who attended Tuesday's 10th anniversary memorial service to honor two local fallen law enforcement officers said they remember the day they were killed like it was yesterday. A decade ago Tuesday, Mt. Juliet police Sgt. Jerry Mundy and Wilson County Deputy John Musice were killed on Interstate 40 while they tried to lay down spike strips to stop a vehicle pursued by other officers. The driver of the fleeing vehicle, Fallon Tallent, struck and killed the officers.
Local and county officials attended the memorial service at Charlie Daniels Park on Tuesday morning, along with Mundy's widow, Trish, his daughter and two sons, other family members and friends. "This is sad, but it's also comforting," said Trish, "to know this many people cared enough to come out." Trish said Mundy would "be proud and honored," about the ceremony.
"Because you are here today means we won't let this fade away and forget," said former Wilson County Sheriff Terry Ashe. "We remember two great men who lived, not how they died. We know how they died." Ashe rushed to the scene that day and grieved on the interstate for the two men. Ashe said Musice and Mundy got up that morning 10 years ago to work for us.
Sheriff Robert Bryan looked at Trish who stood near the podium and told her 10 years ago he heard the call about the accident over the scanner. "I think that was the saddest day this county has ever seen," he said. "They woke up, strapped on their guns and never came home."
Mt. Juliet Mayor Ed Hagerty talked about what "a great man," Mundy was. He said he did not know Musice, but knew he was also a "wonderful person." Hagerty smiled when he talked about "tense" conversations he had with Mundy. "He told me we needed to get them out of the cheap police cars," said Hagery. "He was right, and we did." Hagerty said Mundy was an advocate for all the police officers. "It's really hard knowing what happened to him," said Hagerty. "We need to lift up the families and emulate him. He was about the family being first."
Members of the 100 Club were present to support the family, and members of the Mt. Juliet Police Honor Guard laid two wreaths near the memorial stone placed to honor Mundy.
"It's so important people remember," said Trish. "It was my fear they would not. I can't believe it's been 10 years."
After the ceremony, Trish, family members and some friends went to a private ceremony where Mundy is buried. Several 100 Club members traveled to Lebanon to lay a wreath on Musice's memorial stone.