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Slain Athens officer's dream comes true

8:02 AM, Dec 9, 2011   |    comments
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  • Melissa Christian tours the home volunteers are building for her and her two children.
  • Athens-Clarke County Senior Police Officer Elmer "Buddy" Christian (ACCPD)
    

ATHENS, Ga. -- A community shaken by the death of Buddy Christian is making sure the Athens-Clarke County Police officer's dream of building a home for his family will be fulfilled.

Every day, volunteers gather in Madison County outside of Athens to install windows or lay bricks on the site where Officer Christian's widow and two children will soon live.

"It's kind of bitter sweet that he's not here to see his dream completed," his widow Melissa Christian said. "Still, I know he's happy and he'll be glad we're able to finish it."

Officer Christian lost his life on March 22 while responding to a call. Jamie Hood is awaiting trial, charged with shooting Christian and Officer Tony Howard.

Christian's widow said her husband kept plans for his dream home in his patrol car.

"That's what we were working for every day," Melissa Christian said. "He would come home, and we would talk about it every night. That was his goal, to take care of his family."

When Karen Griffin heard of Christian's dream, she immediately went to the Athens Home Builder's Association. Word spread, and contractors stepped forward to volunteer their time and supplies.

"We've gotten labor and materials from all over," Griffin said. "It's been a blessing to have the national companies and even the local guy with the small door shop step forward and install the doors."

Griffin has written a blog with photographs showing the progress. Memories of the slain officer are all over the house.

"We put pictures in the concrete," Melissa Christian said. "We actually put some pictures of family vacations and our wedding pictures in the walls. It's more than just a house. There are memories there."

The Christians' young children have taken part in the construction.

"It's amazing to see it through their eyes," their mom said.

The home should be ready for the Christians early next year.

"It's kind of like, even through his death, he's still building our house," Melissa Christian said of her husband. "He's still a part of it."

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