NEW CASTLE —
Video: Saying goodbye to Shenango officer Jerry McCarthy.
Police cars formed three lines on Mill Street, then proceeded into a single line that traveled onto Taylor, then East Washington streets.
A group of dog owners, united as Promises for Pets, gathered with their canines at the entrance to Cascade Park as a tribute to McCarthy’s dedication to the animal kingdom. They had organized the effort on Facebook Tuesday night.
After Wednesday’s ceremony, Ellwood City canine officer Michael McBride told how McCarthy would help with decoy work in training his and Shenango’s dogs — decoy work that entailed taking bites from the dogs, but McCarthy was never injured.
McCarthy also was quick to volunteer with public demonstrations with the dogs. His last time was at “Bark for Life,” a cancer fund-raiser in April 2012, McBride said.
“When I didn’t have anyone else to help, Jerry would always drop what he was doing and come and help us.”
As the procession made its way to Shenango Township, 17 fire and rescue vehicles joined the journey to Grove City.
Two ladder trucks had hoisted an American flag over the intersection with Willowbrook Road, near the Shenango municipal building where a group of Boy Scouts saluted.
The procession continued onto Route 108, where Laurel school students and teachers stood at the edge of the road waving flags.
It then followed Route 108, through Harlansburg to Interstate 79, where the northbound lanes were closed to other traffic for seven miles.
Signs all along the route, many of them homemade on cardboard, paid tribute with such sayings as, “Thank You for Serving, We will miss you,” “God Bless Officer McCarthy” and “Jerry, we honor your sacrifice.”
The town of Grove City also welcomed the motorcade with an arch formed by its fire department’s aerial trucks that had suspended a flag over the main intersection.
Grove City officers with canines stood at attention and saluted as the cruisers and firetrucks passed and people there, too, numbered in the hundreds, watching and saluting.
Among the signs there was “Grove City High School Class of 1971 welcomes you home, Officer Jerry.”
The final stop was Crestview Memorial Park Cemetery, where a police honor guard escorted the casket to a ceremonial site for final prayers.
A state police helicopter flew overhead and a gun salute was followed by a bagpipe rendition of taps, then “Amazing Grace.”
(To view a photo gallery from Wednesday's funeral and procession for Jerry McCarthy, CLICK HERE.)