Tragic Anniversary Tribute
By Dan Breitwieser, WCJB TV 20 News.
GPD Lieutenant Corey Dahlem was hit and killed after the U-F men's basketball team won their second consecutive national championship. A special project several years in the making will now bear his name.
It was quiet as Lieutenant Corey Dahlem's face gazed at the room he worked so hard to create.
"He loved that room," says Dahlem's wife Sally. "That was the one real project he worked on that he was very proud of."
Dahlem spent three years creating the Data Trac room, which is a clearinghouse for criminal investigations and a command center during emergencies.
"It was a little weird," says Dahlem's son Brandon. "Because I knew he always worked on it, but I never got to see it. I had no idea what it looked like in my head."
Two other memorials are near the accident scene at Northwest 17th Street and University Avenue... renaming the street 'Lieutenant Corey Dahlem Drive,' along with a placing a bronze plaque nearby.
Thursday night a candlelight vigil was held in his honor. Two hundred of his friends, family and brothers in blue came to remember his legacy.
"Last night, it was hard," says Sally. "We've decided that we are going to remember him and smile and try not to have tears."
One smile shared Friday was the story of the only time Dahlem got into a little bit of trouble. It involved the Data Trac room, putting his feet up on the table and a Gator basketball game, even though Dahlem was an FSU fan.
Although the badge covers mourning his loss are long gone, Police Chief Norman Botsford says Friday's dedication is the most fitting memorial of all--especially to members of the department.
"It is really the most memorable of all of them," says Botsford. "Because every time we come in here as we do almost every month, or every other month, and we have our presentation going on, Corey's face is going to be looking at us and giving us a real vivid reminder for time to come."
Sally Dahlem wanted to thank the community for all its support over the last year, and especially for the 50-thousand dollars that were raised that are still being used to fund her two children's college education. They both want to be firefighter paramedics.
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