Corporal Jimmy Lee Shelton
L-R: Billi Jo Shelton (stepmother), Burgess Shelton (Father),
Colonel Chris Knight, Donna Manger (mother),
and Doug Manger (stepfather).
On March 22nd, 2006, Colonel Chris Knight traveled to Fort Myers, Florida, and presided over a ceremony in which fallen soldier Corporal Jimmy Lee Shelton, United States Army, was posthumously appointed as an honorary Florida State Trooper. Corporal Shelton is the first recipient of such an honor.
Corporal Shelton was killed on December 3rd, 2005, in Bayji, Iraq, when his base was attacked by mortar fire. He had been trained as a cavalry scout and assigned to the 1st Squadron, 33rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, based at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Corporal Shelton had dreamed of becoming a Florida State Trooper at the conclusion of his military service.
Donna Manger, Doug Manger,
and Sgt. Dan Hinton
Upon learning of Corporal Shelton's dream, members of the Florida Highway Patrol, Fort Myers District, initiated the process, which culminated in the ceremony conducted at the Florida Highway Patrol station in Fort Myers. Many of Corporal Shelton's family and friends were in attendance. "It's something appropriate," Colonel Knight said. "We were touched by his desire to be a trooper. We knew we needed to do the right thing and make him a part of the organization."
Col. Knight presents certificates to the parents
with Lt. Colonel Rick Gregory and Major Rebecca Tharpe
During the recognition ceremony, stepmother Billi Jo Shelton, fought back tears. "It's a bittersweet day," she said about the ceremony that honored the boy she raised as a son. "It's happy, but it is sad." At the ceremony, both sets of parents were given a black trooper hat, a leadership coin, a certificate, a plaque, and a teddy bear. Col. Knight said there were 1,811 troopers statewide before the ceremony, but that number rose to 1,812 when Jimmy Lee Shelton joined the ranks.