Retired Columbus Police Officer Tony Culberson spent his life helping others, yet rarely did he ask for anything in return.
Family members said it would have been difficult for the former police detective to behold the massive crowd of mourners filing into his Friday morning funeral service without blushing.
"I think Tony would have been a little embarrassed about all the attention," said Matt Dunaway, Culberson's son-in-law.
Perhaps it also would have also made Culberson slightly uneasy to learn his family has established a fund in his name that will eventually become the Tony Culberson Officer of the Year Award. However, his family members, however, are willing to take that chance so that they may honor their loved one and continue to carry on his legacy of service.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Ledger-Enquirer
"He was very heavily involved in just trying to help people where he could," Dunaway said. "It just seems like the right thing to do to make sure that generations of officers know who Tony was."
The donation-based fund was set up at Columbus Bank and Trust Co. under "Special Fund in Honor of Tony Culberson." In addition to creating an officer of the year award, donations will go toward creating scholarship opportunities for young officers in the metro Columbus area. — to include Law enforcement officers within the Columbus Police Department, the Muscogee County Sheriff's Office, the Muscogee County Marshal's Office and the local FBI office would be eligible.
"It's a good way to commemorate our father," said son Ryan Corkron. "He really liked helping young people."
That included his seven children: — daughters Angela Dunaway of Suwanee, Ga.; Nichole Culberson of Phenix City; Rebecca Culberson and Jennifer Dunagan, both of Columbus; and sons William D. Mitchell and Edwin C. Culberson, both of Columbus; and Ryan M. Corkron of LaGrange, Ga.
Culberson died Tuesday at St. Francis Hospital after a long battle with cancer. He was 59.
In life, the former detective was known to always get his man. In death, Culberson will be remembered best for his devotion to his family and to his community.
"Tony was the kind of guy if he met a child in need he would do anything he could to help that child," Dunaway said.