GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Hundreds of survivors of fallen law enforcement officers gathered in Washington D.C. Friday night for the annual candlelight vigil.

Volunteers with the Northeast Wisconsin chapter of Concerns of Police Survivors or C.O.P.S. served as escorts for the families.

Local 5 News had the chance to speak briefly with one of those volunteers, the president of the Northeast Chapter, Jo Ann Mignon, before the ceremony.

“There are so many here that have lost their family members 20, 30, 40, 50 years ago,” explained Mignon. “Our goal is to make sure the sacrifice they made is never forgotten.”

Three Wisconsin officers were added to the memorial this year.

Master Trooper Daniel Stainbrook of the Wisconsin State Patrol and Fond Du Lac Police Officer Joseph Kurer who both succumbed to COVID-19, and Milwaukee Police Officer Mark Lentz also passed away from health-related issues.

Mignon said it made a big difference to have the full ceremony in person again after the pandemic. She said this year the volunteers felt as if it was a family reunion.

“I think the fact that we have all been through so much the past two years. Finally, this year the Canadian Mounties are back. The bobbies from England are back. Just everyone is back together again,” said Mignon.

She knows well that the pain never goes away.

This July marks 20 years since she lost her partner, Officer Stephanie Markins, and fellow Officers Robert Etter of the Hobart-Lawrence Police Department.

Many families of the fallen just can’t hold up under the pressure that comes with attending services before the public. That’s why C.O.P.S. is there to offer them some privacy and to shield those who want to join with other families but don’t want their grief to be seen by the general public.

“We want to be here to serve these families. There are other days when you can thank officers for their service and what they do. This week is about officers who have been lost and remembering their lives and their families and honoring what it is that they’ve done.”

The Greater Milwaukee Fire and Police Pipe and Drums once again organized the “Midnight Piper” tribute.

At 11:50 p.m. Friday, bagpipers position themselves throughout Wisconsin and begin playing “Amazing Grace.”

Northeast Wisconsin locations for the bagpipe tribute include Kewaunee’s Harbor Park, Fond Du Lac’s Hamilton Park, and the Sheboygan Police Department.