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Bridge to bear deputy's name
Land was killed in 2003 wreck
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Forsyth County News

A black granite memorial rests less than a mile from where David Land died in the line of duty.

The 32-year-old Forsyth County Sheriff's deputy was responding on motorcycle to an emergency in March 2003 when he was killed in a wreck on Hwy. 20 over Haw Creek Road.

Nearly six years after his death, District 24 state Rep. Tom Knox wanted to do something to honor the fallen deputy.

The Cumming Republican plans to introduce legislation to dedicate the Hwy. 20 bridge over Haw Creek as the Sgt. D.P. Land Memorial Bridge.

Forsyth's five legislative delegates are on board with the measure, Knox said.

"We thought this would be a fitting memorial to him that it would be near the site where he gave his life in the pursuit of his duties," Knox said. "This site has meaning for his fellow officers because they responded to the site. They heard the news over the radio and they go by that place on a daily basis.

"Rather than just thinking about the loss, this might help them think about how much the community appreciates their service."

Sheriff's Capt. Ron Freeman knew the late deputy well. He described Land as a great officer and "one of the nicest guys you could ever meet on Earth."

"He was a jokester from day one," Freeman said. "He always had a smile on his face, he always had a great attitude and he absolutely loved to play practical jokes on people.

"He was always playing, and that's what made him so likeable. He was serious and businesslike when he needed to be serious and businesslike, but if anyone gave him the opportunity, he was as friendly as they came."

Freeman said there was a huge outpouring of support from the community after the incident. The memorial, and now the road dedication, will help to pay tribute to Land's sacrifice.

"It certainly doesn't do anything to bring him back, but it honors his service and the times that he did put himself on the line for the people he had never met before," Freeman said.

"It's nice to think that just as we do for our soldiers, who I have the highest respect for, that we honor people who are willing to sacrifice everything they have, and in this case, his life, to help protect others. So it's a fitting honor for him and for what he did for the people here.

"It makes me proud to know that his sacrifice is being recognized."