No announcement yet.

Member of High Noon Drowns on Memorial Day

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Smokin' Ace
    This is so sad - we have lost a hero!

    Saturday, June 1, 2002

    Died in the line of duty: Montanans, Canadians lay to rest Rocky Boy's officer
    Tribune Projects Editor

    ROCKY BOY -- Law officers from across Montana laid to rest a fallen comrade on a sun-dappled hillside Friday.
    Officer Robert James Taylor, 43, of the Rocky Boy's Tribal Police Department, drowned Monday in the Bonneau Reservoir while attempting to rescue two fishermen whose boat had overturned.

    He was the 116th Montana law officer to die in the line of duty and the first since Shane Chadwick of the Great Falls Police Department was shot to death Sept. 7, 1994, Cascade County Sheriff's Chaplain Terry Tyler said.

    "Our officers have had a lot of sleepless nights until we found the body of our brother," Police Chief Art Windy Boy said. "This is the first time this has happened on this reservation, and we have retired his badge, No. 38."

    Services were held for Taylor in Our Savior Lutheran Church, with sweetgrass smoke drifting through the circular chapel.

    Outside, somber law officers milled about the lawn, talking with one another.

    "All these law enforcement people would fill my church just by themselves," the Rev. Ruth Votaw.

    "There's been a lot of sorrow for the family and empathy for the department," Votaw said. "We're all in shock."

    A contingent of Canadian officers came to Rocky Boy to honor Taylor's roots in Manitoba. They joined officers from all seven Indian reservations and many northcentral Montana jurisdictions.

    Rocky Boy Officer Melody Bernard remembered the two-day search for Taylor's body.

    "His little boy came running up to me and said, 'Did you find my daddy yet so he can come play with me?' That's when I lost it."

    As she spoke, Bernard held her own 8-year-old son, who was weeping.

    "He's taking it real hard," she said. "He knows it could be his mother in there. He gives me a kiss when I go to work and tells me to be real careful."

    Inside the chapel, tribal singers pounded their drum and wailed the Honor Song. Taylor had been a prized member of the tribal singers.

    As the service came to a close, 80 officers lined up in pairs, advanced to the coffin, saluted and filed outdoors to line up in front of the church.

    After the service, the casket was loaded into the back of a pickup truck and taken to the RJ Quarter Horse Ranch, followed by about three dozen squad cars, lights flashing.

    Taylor was buried on a hillside overlooking a quiet valley and a small stream.

    "This is a beautiful day and a beautiful land," Tribal Chairman Alvin Windy Boy said. "It belongs to no one individual, but to all our people.

    "We thank each of you for coming these long distances to honor Robert, my friend and my brother-in-law," he said.

    Taylor is survived by his wife, Sandra, and sons Chadd and Joesiah of Rocky Boy, as well four children -- David, Jeremy, Robert and Kristin -- from a previous marriage in South Dakota.

    "As you return to your homes to enforce the law and protect the innocent, I ask you to take a piece of this land with you," Alvin Windy Boy said. "We are all different in stature and in color, but we share the same Creator and the same ideals."

    Before the casket was lowered into the ground, an honor guard fired a 21-gun salute.

    Then a police dispatcher reported, "Officer Robert Taylor is 10-42, 10-10," his amplified voice reverberating through police radios in squad cars and on the officers' lapels.

    "That means that Robert is now off-duty and going home," said Garry L. Adams, director of the Adams Funeral Home in Malta.

    Leave a comment:

  • acgal
    My heart is sadden by this loss. My prayers go out to the family!

    Leave a comment:

  • luvstraightdancrs
    Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and community. So sad - such a loss.

    Leave a comment:

  • Smokin' Ace
    Yes - he truly did die a hero! So sad.:(

    Leave a comment:

  • ctryprincess

    My heart goes out to his family... I feel bad for them. He sounds like he was a very honorable man. I don't know how many people would actually do what he did, risk his life for one he doesn't know. He truly is a hero. My deepest sympathy and well wishes.

    Leave a comment:

  • Smokin' Ace
    started a topic Member of High Noon Drowns on Memorial Day

    Member of High Noon Drowns on Memorial Day

    In great sadness, I post this.

    taken from Great Falls

    Thursday, May 30, 2002

    Tribal officer's body found
    Tribune Regional Editor

    ROCKY BOY AGENCY -- Divers pulled the body of a Rocky Boy's police officer who drowned in the line of duty from Bonneau Reservoir at 11 a.m. Wednesday.
    Robert Taylor, 43, died on Memorial Day trying to rescue a fisherman whose boat capsized on the lake. Lewis and Clark County Search and Rescue divers found Taylor's body in the area where he slipped under as he tried to swim to the overturned boat, said Sgt. Rick Gardipee with tribal law enforcement. The Rocky Boy's Reservation is 15 miles south of Havre.

    The body was sent to Adams Funeral Home in Malta. Funeral arrangements are pending.

    A team of substitute officers from the Bureau of Indian Affairs is taking over police work on the reservation for the next few days to relieve the exhausted tribal force.

    Some officers stayed overnight at the reservoir Monday and Tuesday, sleeping in their cars or in a tent.

    "Right now, everybody is pretty wore out," Gardipee said. Search and Rescue teams from Hill and Chouteau counties also participated.

    "It's just sort of a loss to each of us, because we sometimes think about how close we are to making that decision," Hill County Sheriff Greg Szudera said. "He did it without too much hesitation -- trying to save someone else. That really was a sign to all of us of his dedication to helping people. What an example -- giving one's life in the line of duty."

    Tribal Investigator Stan Gardipee said Taylor sank roughly 10 to 15 feet from the overturned boat. The water was 18 feet deep.

    A witness told him Taylor went under, came up again and then sank.

    "I'd say he got exhausted or maybe cramps," he said. "The water was real cold."

    One of the two fishermen in the boat, Kim "Junior" Norquay, swam to shore, Stan Gardipee said. He was misidentified in a story that ran in the Tribune Wednesday. The other man, Ira Moreno, struggled to hang onto the boat.

    Bruce Denny, a former EMT, said he heard the call for help on his police scanner and raced to the lake. He floated to the boat on a tire.

    Denny said he was pushing the boat toward shore when his legs cramped.

    Another man, William Parker, swam out with a rope and tires. Parker and Denny transferred Moreno onto the tires and Mike Morsette pulled him in from the shore.

    A boat pulled in Denny, who said he could hardly hang on to his tire.

    "I couldn't kick or paddle anymore from the cold," he said.

    Both Denny and Moreno were treated for hypothermia at Northern Montana Hospital and released.

    Denny's nephew, Tribal Fish and Game Warden Waylon Denny, also attempted to swim to the boat, but turned back after he nearly went under.

    Taylor's family and friends struggled to comprehend his death Wednesday.

    Willy Strong, a police officer from the Red Lake Indian Reservation in Minnesota, said he and Taylor considered themselves brothers, although they weren't related.

    Strong drove to Rocky Boy's as soon as he heard the news.

    "I'm wracking my brain trying to cope with it," he said.

    Originally from the Manitoba Sioux Valley Reserve in Canada, Taylor sang with the well-known Canadian drum group High Noon, Strong said.

    "When he wasn't working, it was powwow and family," he said. "He was a family man."

    Taylor liked to treat his friends to surprise visits.

    "He would never telephone me, just knock on my door," Strong said. "It's a hard loss."

    Outgoing and good-humored, Taylor was dedicated to his job, Strong added.

    "He was determined to excel at whatever he was doing," he said.

Join the online community forum celebrating Native American Culture, Pow Wows, tribes, music, art, and history.

Related Topics




There are no results that meet this criteria.

Sidebar Ad