10 Years After Fatal Accident, Brian Haas’ Memory Looms in Hendry County
LABELLE, FL. -- 10 years ago, in the early morning hours April 25, 2004, a young, energetic and dedicated Deputy Sheriff Brian Haas was on duty. He had been employed with the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office for about 2 ½ years and was well on his way to fulfilling his lifelong dream of being a deputy sheriff with the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office.
He started out as a correctional officer in 2002 and transferred to road patrol by December 1, 2003. Early on April 25, 2004 that all changed. Deputy Haas, along with Deputy Keith Bennett, were responding from Clewiston to a delayed burglary call in Montura. On the way Deputy Haas was involved in a traffic crash that ended his life at the age of 21.
In the minutes that followed his tragic crash, the world was turned upside down for the Haas family. However, during their time of loss, both Bob and Norie Haas were determined to keep their son’s memory alive. In 2005 the Haas family established a scholarship fund for Hendry County Sheriff’s Office employees, Explorers, and volunteers who wish to further their career/education in criminal justice. To date the Haas family has awarded over $30,000.00 in scholarships.
In 2004, then Hendry County Sheriff, Steve Worley, dedicated the newly built training facility as the Brian Haas Memorial Training Facility and placed a granite monument in front of the building.
Within the community of Hendry County and members of the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office, many of whom knew and worked with Brian, still remember and speak of him fondly. “I remember Brian well. He was a wonderful young man, set to take on the challenges of law enforcement and dedicated to the citizens of this county,” said Sheriff Steve Whidden. “His parents, Bob and Norie, are seen frequently at holiday and other department functions,” he continued, “and they remain involved in Concerns of Police Survivors and participate in an annual retreat that addresses parental survival”.
Those of us who knew Brian are fortunate to have known this young man, who chose to serve his community with dedication, and his family, who lost their son, but chose to keep his memory alive, by serving others in law enforcement and those who have lost loved ones in the line of duty.