Waynesburg, PA – A flagpole that stood as a memorial to a much-loved sheriff who recently died of cancer was stolen from the Waynesburg Youth Baseball Fields.
The flags that had flown on the memorial pole – an American flag and a blue line flag – were left crumpled on the ground, according to Greene County Sheriff Brian Tennant’s devastated widow, who encountered the mess.
Jessica Tennant took to Facebook on Sunday to justifiably rage about the travesty.
“I want to give a big FB shout out to the a$$hole who stole the flag pole and left the flags on the ground that was graciously placed in memory of my late husband, Sheriff Brian Tennant at one of the Waynesburg Youth Baseball Fields,” Jessica posted.
“I think in light of your actions I already know two important things about you. 1) even if you live 100 years you will never be able to contribute to this community what my husband did in his short 35 years. And 2) the reason his legacy is what it is and that he was loved and respected by so many people was because of you really needed it, he would have given it to you out of his own pocket,” the angry widow continued.
“He always took the higher road something I’m sure you’ve never been on,” Jessica wrote. “It was simple to him, right was right and wrong was wrong and you, are wrong on so many levels.”
“Also, I’d like to thank you for being such a great example to my sons of what it means to be disrespectful and worthless, some of the words I used to describe the type of person who would tear down and steal the pole that held both an American and their dead Daddy’s flag,” she wrote.
“The good news is the spirit of a man like Brian can’t be captured in a flag, a sign or even a social media post. But it sure made those little boys proud to play on the field beneath that flag or catch a glimpse of it when they stepped in to the batter’s box,” Jessica finished. “Seriously though, you suck as bad as cancer does.”
Sheriff Tennant died on Feb. 27 at the age of 35 after a years-long battle with a rare form of brain cancer.
When he was 26 years old, he was diagnosed with Infiltrating Pontine Astrocytoma – a cancer generally found in young children – after doctors found an inoperable tumor growing on his brain stem.
“They basically told me, ‘You are going to die,’” Sheriff Tennant told the Observer-Reporter in 2012. “I wasn’t willing to accept it so I started looking for other options.”
After being turned away by a multitude of hospitals, he and his wife, Jessica, found a clinic in Houston that was willing to treat him.
The treatment managed to shrink the tumor, enabling the young officer to return to work.
“It was a terrible struggle in 2010 and 2011,” retired Waynesburg Police Chief Tim Hawfield told Observer-Reporter. “But he came out of that and there were other things to accomplish.”
He ran for Greene County Sheriff in 2013, and was re-elected in 2017. Sheriff Tennant continued to work up through the final months of his life – often from his hospital bed.
“That’s the kind of guy he was. He was involved,” Chief Hawfield said. “This community will never fully appreciate what a good servant they had in him.”
“Others would’ve quit long before he did,” the retired police chief added. “And I don’t mean just in law enforcement.”
Sheriff Tennant was also a 17-year veteran of the Waynesburg-Franklin Volunteer Fire Company, and served as an Emergency Medical Service Southwest medic.
He had just retired from the fire company in January.
“He certainly dedicated his life for serving,” Greene County Chief Deputy Marcus Simms told the Observer-Reporter.
Jessica said that her husband’s devoted service in his final days was a testament to how seriously he took his job as a public servant.
“He had lots of reasons to complain, and he never did,” she told KDKA. “If more people were like that, if more people maintained a positive attitude and never complained… this community, this county, this area, the entire country, the entire world would be in a much better state.”