We wouldn’t have thought we’d be going down this road again so soon.
Last week, we offered a salute and final farewell to Robert “Bo” McCallister on the occasion of his death. McCallister, a Lawrence County native, spent 32 years in law enforcement in Dauphin County, even being being shot during a 1981 bank robbery.
Sadly — but proudly — we must pause now to remember another such hero.
Richard Hanna died Thursday at the age of 89. A Navy veteran, he served as chief of police for two Lawrence County departments before retiring for good in 2002.
Hanna was a member of the New Castle Police Department for 25 years, and was its chief from 1968-72. In 1969, he was chosen to participate in the FBI National Academy as one of just 100 police chiefs from across the nation.
When Fran Rogan replaced Carl Cialella as New Castle mayor in ‘72 and made his own pick for police chief, Hanna went back to being a patrolman for another 10 years.
At that point, he retired from the New Castle force and accepted an offer to become chief of police in New Wilmington, a position he would hold for 21 years.
Like McCallister, Hanna also took a bullet in the line of duty.
On Sept. 29, 1963, at the age of 34, Hanna was part of what The News reported to be a “running gun battle with a burglar at the Farm Bureau Store in Mahoningtown.” Hanna was shot in the chest, and taken to the hospital, where he was determined to be in serious condition. He was off the job for six months.
The gunman turned out to be a teenager, and the .22 caliber rifle he used was given to the district attorney once the case had run its course. The gun, in turn, eventually was given to Hanna, and it became a sort of family heirloom.
And just as McCallister left a legacy with his department — last year it created an Officer of the Year Award bearing his name — Hanna also passed something down.
Two of his grandsons — Thomas and Steve Brooks — followed him into police work, with Steve even joining his grandfather’s former force as a New Castle K9 officer in 2007.
In a 2014 interview with The News, Hanna said he never put any pressure on either grandson to take up police work.
Nonetheless, both young men told The News at the time that their grandfather’s example played a key role in their career choice.
“I think he was always an influence on the two of us,” Tom Brooks had noted. “Just the type of person he is — the moral and ethical example he set for us.”
Actually, Hanna was a bit of legacy himself. His father, Robert Hanna, was a member of New Castle police department from 1927-52, also serving as chief from 1944-52.
Thus it is that we take time to thank the entire Hanna/Brooks family for their service and sacrifice, and offer our condolences to them on the loss of a man who helped keep two county communities safe for nearly half a century.
Rest in peace, Chief Hanna.