Fallen officer honored
PATTERSON, La. — “I know he is up there with the Good Lord but I sure wish he was down here with us,” E.C. “Gene” Bosworth said Tuesday night of slain Chitimacha tribal policemen Sgt. Frederick “Rick” Riggenbach.
For the past 15 years, Bosworth has organized an annual event honoring an exemplary police officer from each local police department. The Marine Corps League Detachment 600 departed from its tradition Tuesday night and honored a single officer, Riggenbach, who was killed in the line of duty Jan. 26, near Charenton.
Riggenbach was praised for his sacrifice and service to the community and his family was honored during the banquet at the American Legion Hall Post 242 in Patterson.
The police chiefs of Morgan City, Patterson, Berwick, Franklin and Baldwin each attended the meeting along with officers from their departments. A bell was rung 21 times, symbolic of a three-volley salute, in memory of Riggenbach. Each of the chiefs solemnly passed the bell and struck it once followed by several police officers, with Chitimacha tribal Police Chief Blaise Smith striking the bell the final time.
Bosworth, a Korean War veteran and organizer of the annual event, said that the idea to singularly honor the service of Riggenbach in lieu of presenting awards to officers from each area police department originated with Baldwin Chief of Police Gerald Baldwin.
“We can think of no person more deserving than Sgt. Frederick Albert “Rick” Riggenbach to be honored by your organization,” Tim David said as he read from a statement prepared by the five chiefs of police. “We can think of no better way to honor his family.”
The family was presented with a crystal plaque in memory of Riggenbach that said in part, “We salute you for your bravery and courage … We live in a better place because of you.”
The family was also given a certificate of recognition from the Louisiana House of Representatives that Rep. Sam Jones, D-Franklin, sent to the ceremony.
“It is important that we show support to the family because Rick made the ultimate sacrifice,” Bosworth said.
At the conclusion of the event, William Riggenbach, son of the slain officer, and Smith cut a large memorial cake that was donated by the St. Mary Parish Chamber of Commerce. The cake had a picture of Sgt. Riggenbach on the top.
As Bonnie Riggenbach slid the crystal memorializing her husband into its case she paused briefly to read its inscription which concludes with these words:
“On your final journey home, we wish you ‘Fair winds and following seas.’”