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Officials dedicate bridge to fallen officer

Friends, family members, first responders, and both local and state officials came together to commemorate the renaming of a local bridge to honor Deputy Allen Lipford who gave his life in the line of duty. The ceremony took place on July 6, which many people know is Lipford’s birthday. Photo by Tamas Mondovics.

By Meg Dickens
Staff Writer

On Tuesday, July 6, local and state officials gathered to honor fallen police officer Deputy Allen Richard Lipford. The bridge between the Johnson County Welcome Center and Farm Bureau is now renamed in Lipford’s honor. This event falls on what would have been his 58th birthday.

Lipford was shot and mortally wounded in the line of duty while attempting to stop a felon from escaping the county jail. He succumbed to his injuries in a hospital in Boone, North Carolina. The escaped prisoner was recaptured in Shady Valley the next day and sentenced to life in prison. Lipford’s official end of watch was on Wednesday, December 11, 1991, at age 28.

Local residents release balloons at the bridge dedication fallen deputy Allen Lipford.
Photo by Tamas Mondovics

After hearing about the bridge dedication, people from around the area pledged their support and intention to come out. Many expressed views that this was long overdue. State Representative Scotty Campbell agreed with the sentiment.

“The Tennessee Department of Transportation has been instructed to fabricate and install the signs per legislation passed in 2021 to name the bridge,” Campbell told The Tomahawk. “This is long overdue as we honor the life of Mr. Allen Lipford.”

“The absolute hero that gives his or her all should forever be engraved on our hearts and our minds,” said Tonya Proffitt on the anniversary of Lipford’s death. “Allen will be because he is the absolute hero, and he did give his all to Johnson County, Tennessee. In memory, honor, respect, and thankfulness, on this night, a blue light shines in Sink Valley for a hero.”

Whether people are aware of the incident or not, they have heard Lipford’s name. Each year, his relative, Dan Lipford, holds the Annual Deputy Allen Lipford Memorial Car/Truck/Bike Show in conjunction with the Sunflower Festival. Proceeds from the show go towards funding the Allen Lipford Scholarship available to Johnson County High School seniors. This year’s show will be on Saturday, July 17, from 10 am to 12 pm, with winners announced at 1 pm.

For more information on Deputy Allen Richard Lipford, visit his Officer Down Memorial Page. For more information about the annual car show in Lipford’s honor, visit the Mountain City Annual Sunflower Festival Facebook page.