City of Pelham celebrates by burning mortgage for slain officer’s family

Dozens of law enforcement, firefighters, elected officials and members of the public gathered April 11 to celebrate paying off the mortgage of the home of slain Pelham Police officer Philip Davis.

During a ceremony at the Pelham Civic Complex, members of the public heard from Davis’ widow, Paula, Mayor Don Murphy and Police Chief Tommy Thomas as the three thanked the community for helping to retire to mortgage.

With the help of Fire Chief Danny Ray, Davis lit the mortgage and burned it, while also saying a few words to thank the public for their generosity.

“It’s wonderful just to know that everyone is supporting us,” Davis said. “It’s just amazing.”

Davis said she and the children are holding up fine, but she still thinks about Philip and all the other officers who risk their lives each and every day.

“It’s a day-to-day battle, but we’re making it OK,” Davis said as she fought back tears. “Although Philip was my husband, every night that I go to bed, I still think about everyone in the department.

“I consider them part of my family, and every night I go to bed I say prayers for you and your families because I know if you were in my situation, you would do the same for me,” she added.

Prior to Davis speaking, Thomas also thanked everyone who helped put the effort together.

With April 11 also marking what would have been officer Davis’ fifth anniversary with the Pelham Police Department, Thomas said he has been battling some feelings of bitterness, but that subsided as he saw how the community supported his fellow officers and Davis’ family.

“The bitterness went away,” Thomas said. “I appreciate the whole community coming together.”

Thomas said Davis was a phenomenal officer and the department benefited greatly from his service.

“Police officer Philip Davis was a unique individual,” Thomas said. “Every time I say the name Philip Davis, a smile comes to my face.

“You just had to know Philip, you just had to know him,” he added.

Thomas said Davis, who also served as a crime scene investigator, was so detailed in his work and cared so much about his fellow officers.

“Philip could have been anything he wanted to be, and I’m thankful he decided to become a police officer,” Thomas said. “He left his mark on our police department.”

During the program, State Senator Hank Erwin also presented a resolution to Paula.

The resolution was the first measure taken up when the legislature reconvened in February.

Murphy closed out the ceremony by thanking everyone for their efforts, and letting Davis know that she will also be a member of the Pelham family.

“How many ways do you say thank you?” Murphy said. “Everyone came together; our city came together.

“And Paula, we’re not ever going to forget you, baby,” he added. “As long as we’re all still here, we’re never going to forget you.”

In addition to the mortgage retirement effort, the city and Davis have also established a fund in the memory of officer Davis to help law enforcement families who lose a member in the line of duty.

A golf tournament will be held April 29 at Ballantrae Golf Club to help benefit this effort. For more information, call Butch Byrd at Ballantrae at 620-4653.