On Monday, Jan. 30 – 42 years to the day Officer Johnny Terrell Bamsch, 27, died in the line of duty – a special memorial will be rededicated to his memory at the North Patrol substation at 9455 West Montgomery. The ceremony will start at 10 a.m. with Bamsch’s family members expected to attend.
The third dedication of the Bamsch Memorial represents the oft-stated goal of the Houston Police Officers Union that no officer who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the citizens of the Bayou City will ever be forgotten.
Bamsch, 27, a veteran of two and a half years with the Department, was shot and killed – murdered, actually – while on patrol Jan. 30, 1975. He was assigned out of the North Shepherd Substation, where a tree was planted in his memory. This special memorial made it impossible for anyone who took notice to forget the sacrifice of the young officer and Vietnam veteran.
Mother Nature took the first tree planted at North Shepherd. But a new one took root soon afterward and has grown over the last 30-plus years to more than 25 or 30 feet into the Houston sky. When the new substation was built at 9455 West Montgomery, the city sold the old property to a developer who planned to demolish it to make way for new construction.
The tree shading the memorial could not be transplanted. Since that time the granite Bamsch memorial has been under the roof of North Patrol Capt. Larry Baimbridge’s office, awaiting an appropriate rededication opportunity.
Retired HPD Honor Guard member David Freytag crusaded to have the second tree moved to the new location of North Patrol but said he couldn’t pull the trigger with city of Houston bureaucracies to get the job done. Freytag at one time sought to have a private company move the tree but learned that couldn’t happen for less than a $2,000 moving cost.
Freytag then undertook the effort to rededicate the Bamsch plaque under a new tree. Initially he was frustrated – until he met with HPOU 1st Vice President Doug Griffith, who saw to it that there would be a new tree and that the memorial would be fully restored.
The ceremony to dedicate the new memorial will be at 10 a.m. in front of North Division station.
Bamsch, a graduate of HPD Academy Class No. 55, was married to Cindy, who was pregnant with the couple’s first and only child at the time of the fatal shooting. At age 25, Cindy gave birth to daughter Mandy. Cindy Bamsch is a retired teacher and Girl Scout leader for her granddaughter’s troop. She remains a steadfast friend and supporter of all Houston police officers and was gracious and appreciative about the plan to plant a new Live Oak in memory of her husband.