By Randy Arrington
LURAY, May 27 — Members of the community gathered at Ruffner Plaza on Thursday to pray for Detective Ron McClelland of the Luray Police Department. The 40-year veteran of law enforcement has been in the Intensive Care Unit of the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville for the past four weeks after being injured in the performance of his duties on April 28.
“We lift up Ron to you God and thank you for his very life,” prayed Stanley Police Department chaplain and local pastor Doug Gochenour, who lead the prayer vigil. “And we know Lord, you are not finished with that life yet.”
McCllelland fell nearly nine feet through a hole in the floor of an East Main Street home onto concrete in the basement while on a call at the residence last month. The seasoned detective suffered internal injuries, struck his head and was unconscious when additional officers arrived on the scene, according to Luray Police Chief Bow Cook.
“He’s still in pretty critical condition,” daughter Sara McClelland told PVN following the vigil. “We hope he will make some steps forward…They are taking phenomenal care of him.”
A recent notice announcing the prayer vigil on the Town of Luray’s Facebook page (republished from the “desk of the chief of police”) stated that McClelland has remained in ICU “as a result of continuous complications regarding his injuries.”
“We, as law enforcement…we’re used to helping fix problems,” Chief Cook said on Thursday. “In this situation, we feel helpless…it’s tough to sit back and not be able to help.”
Pastor Tim Scott of Main Street Baptist Church in Luray noted on Thursday a “community still hurting” from the fatal Feb. 26 shooting of Stanley Police Officer Nick Winum.
“We continue, as we hear that siren going off, praying to keep them safe,” Pastor Scott prayed. “Lord, please protect the men and women who keep us safe, use them to protect and serve.”
McClelland spent 26 years with the Prince William Police Department before arriving in Page County in 2008. The loss of another officer has left the Luray Police Department with “limited manpower”, according to the chief. The LPD has put out recruiting notices, and received some help from the Luray Council who recently included additional raises for all police officers in the FY22 town budget.
Chief Cook said his department has received a strong show of community support through letters from elementary school students and other items dropped off. While McClleland has remained in ICU, the family has received more than 100 cards from family, friends and the community over the past month, as well as numerous calls and texts of support.
As the prayer vigil ended on Thursday evening, Pastor Gochenour blessed the doctors and nurses caring for Detective McClelland. He asked those in attendance to join hands and sing “Amazing Grace” with him, and afterwards he thanked God “in advance for [McClelland’s] full recovery.”
“It’s been a very trying four weeks,” daughter Becky Stickley told PVN after the vigil. “We are overwhelmed with gratitude for the support of love and prayers.”
“And it’s not just love for him, but for us as well.”