An 18-year officer with the Aberdeen Police Department was memorialized with a bench dedicated in his name Aug. 10 at downtown Columbus’ Leadership Plaza. The late Johnny Buster served with the APD until his retirement in 2007, retiring as a captain.
“It broke his heart when he had to retire because he had cancer. It broke his heart because he loved it so much. He loved doing things for people and he had a good name in Aberdeen,” said his widow, Patsy.
Before joining the APD, Johnny served 22 years and 10 months with the U.S. Air Force, earning a Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Silver Star and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. He served with the military police and was a med-evac door gunner during the Vietnam War.
After retiring from the military, he wanted to continue serving others through the police force.
“Johnny trained a lot of the young guys. When he did his certification [at the Law Enforcement Training Academy in Pearl], he was 42 and one of the older guys down there,” she said.
Patsy described him as a giving person.
“He was known for good deeds for people. He would have given people his last dollar if he knew of someone in need,” she said.
During the bench dedication service, Patsy said former co-workers with the APD, Quinell Shumpert, Jimmy Cockerham, John Robinson and Darrell Clay, attended, along with some of Johnny’s childhood friends from Jackson.
Fans were passed out with photographs of him in his police and military uniforms on one side and a poem Patsy and her daughter wrote about him in 2001 on the other side.
Although Patsy and Johnny met later in their lives, her children adopted him as their father.
“He really made our lives complete,” she said. “My son, Benji, passed away five years ago. We were driving one day and saw a bench on the side of the road with somebody’s name on it, and Johnny said, ‘Let’s do this for Benji.’”
The benches memorializing Johnny and Benji face each other.
Johnny passed away in January after battling prostate and bladder cancer.