It’s never too late to give a hero his due. Seattle Police Officer ALBERT C. SHANEMAN was shot and killed in the line of duty, while trying to arrest two armed robbery suspects, on Sept. 13, 1903. He was only 36 years old.

He received the WASHINGTON LAW ENFORCEMENT MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously in May 1998, as one of the 40 Seattle police officers killed between 1881 and 1976. But somehow, the medal never made its way to his family, and wound up on a storage shelf at the Seattle Police Department.

Officer Shaneman’s granddaughter, BARBARA GOWAN of Cannon Beach (who never met her grandfather), received a letter about the medal being awarded, but then nothing more. She wondered what had happened to it, but she didn’t inquire, figuring it had been misplaced.

Fifteen years later, in June, she received a phone call from Seattle Officer MIKE SEVERANCE, asking her to come to Seattle to accept her grandfather’s medal in a ceremonial presentation. “It was right out of the blue,” she told DAN HAAG of the Cannon Beach Gazette. “They told me they’d been looking for me for quite awhile. I was completely surprised.”

Undeterred that she was unable to travel because of health problems, Officer Severance (pictured right) and Officer TIM OWENS (pictured left) came to Cannon Beach and, wearing dress uniforms and white gloves, presented the medal to Barbara in her kitchen. The photo is courtesy of Dan Haag/EO Media Group.

“My heart and love is with you both and the Seattle Police Department,” the Gazette reported she told Officers Severance and Owens. “My father would have been so proud. Thank you so much for finding me.”

— Elleda Wilson


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