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Emanuel Pickett

DUPLIN, NC, USA U.S. Army SSG, 1132D MP CO, 95TH MP BN, 18TH MP BDE, ROCKY MOUNT, NC BAGHDAD, IRAQ 04/06/2008 Staff Sergeant Pickett was a police detective in the Duplin County town of Wallace. He used his experience as a law enforcement officer to train Iraqi Police. He was killed by a mortar attack during his deployment to Iraq.

Chief Meready, Pickett’s supervisor said” I’ve known him since he was a teenager, when he graduated from Basic Law Enforcement training, he came looking for a job and I gave him one.”

It took Pickett seven years to rise through the ranks to captain, the first minority captain in his small, rural town. He got there through hard work, but neither the chief nor his officers could tell that Emanuel was putting in long hours by looking at the impeccably dressed Pickett. And they’d tease Pickett that he always looked like he had just stepped off the cover of a fashion magazine.

“Sometimes calls come in at three in the morning, and he never got wrinkled or disheveled like we did. Three in the morning, it looked like we just rolled out of bed, but he looked like he’d been here all night.”

When Pickett wasn’t answering police calls he was at his other job, a butcher at Billy’s Pork and Beef Center. Pickett’s mom asked owner Billy Goff if he could hire her youngest child, who was then 14-years-old, to help around the shop. Goff took Emanuel on. And in the nearly 20 years he worked at Billy’s Pork and Beef, Pickett helped Goff build the business. In return, Goff offered to send Pickett to college, but Pickett stayed home to be with his high school sweetheart, raise a family and pursue a career in law enforcement, following in the footsteps of his older brother Kemely.

“I remember doing some ride along with Emanuel, and I was like, “where we going, where we going?”

Emanuel explains “I gotta go check on the old ladies and put their  light bulbs in.” “And I’d say you’re a captain, you gonna put?…”

“And Emanuel would say, yeah, I put light bulbs in old folks houses.'”

“Old ladies, old guys, they would have his number personally, and they would call him, contact him, and he would go out if the light bulb was out on the porch.”

He says his brother treated those he arrested with the same kindness and respect. It was no surprise when Chief Meready came to pay his respects and told the family that many of the names in the guest registry were people whom Pickett had arrested. It was a credit to the character of this hero.

“This, to me, is the ultimately heroic trait of ordinary people; they say no to the tyrant and they calmly take the consequences of this resistance.” Philip K. Dick


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