Tribute to a Fallen Officer
James Rayburn Grayson
The West D Street (Business 421) bridge over the Reddies River was dedicated Thursday March 17th, 2011 to the memory of North Wilkesboro Police Officer James R. Grayson who was killed in the line of duty on June 1, 1933. Grayson was shot while pursuing a suspect following a disturbance on 10th Street.
Large signs bearing the officer’s name have been placed on both sides of the bridge by the Department of Transportation.
North Wilkesboro Police Chief Joe Rankin told those present at the ceremony, “We felt that it was only fitting that everyone who crosses that bridge will see his name.”
Sam Halsey, the District 11 representative on the N.C. Department of Transportation Board, said that Grayson “accepted the risks of his job but carried out his assignment.''
“This dedication was requested by the Town of North Wilkesboro. It is the hope of the DOT that everyone who travels on that bridge will remember the risks faced by law enforcement officers. I know that his family members who are no longer here would be proud.”
Ten members of the Grayson family attended the ceremony. Halsey presented the family with miniature versions of the signs that have been erected at the bridge.
Mike Pettyjohn, the Division 11 engineer for the DOT, presided over the ceremonies.
A resolution honoring Officer Grayson was passed by the DOT board on July 1, 2010.
Officer Bryant Pierce, the chaplain for the North Wilkesboro Police Department, gave the invocation, and Major Scott Teague led the Pledge of Allegiance.
North Wilkesboro Mayor Robert Johnson welcomed those present, adding, “we have a great department and a great chief, and this dedications allows us to recognize one of our fallen officers.”
Officer Grayson, who was born on Dec. 5, 1910, to J.C. Grayson and Bessie Jenkins Grayson, became a North Wilkesboro officer in 1931. He was killed at the age of 22.