MANISTEE, Mich. (WOOD) - Thousands turned out Saturday to mourn Michigan State Police Trooper Paul Butterfield, who was killed in the line of duty Sept. 9.
Hours before the 1 p.m. service, troopers and other officers gathered and a bagpiper played "Amazing Grace" as Butterfield's casket was brought to Manistee High School for a private viewing before the funeral.
Across the street, Israel Stone gathered his family on the front lawn showing signs of support.
"We want to show our children police are good people in the community and develop a good relationship with them," Stone said.
As officers began filing into the school, Katrina Serna gave out blue ribbons, a sign of honor for officers who made the ultimate sacrifice and those who carry on. She explained what each strand, one folded over the other, means.
"The officer that's behind is the officer that's fallen, and the ribbon that's in front signifies the officers that are still standing, protecting us," she explained.
Serna knows all too well what that sacrifice means to the family of an officer killed while doing his or her job.
Her father, East Grand Rapids Public Safety Officer Bruce Van Popering, was struck by a drunk driver while directing traffic following East Grand Rapid's Fourth of July fireworks in 1994.
He was seriously injured. Then complications set in. Van Popering died 13 days later.
Serna said there's a special bond between families of officers who die in the line of duty.
"When you meet other people and they say, 'Oh, your dad was a cop. He died ... That's sad,'" Serna told 24 Hour News 8. "But when you meet other people who were family members of officers killed in the line of duty, it wasn't just that he died. He died serving the public."
While the loss was tragic and the goodbye sad, those left behind, like Katrina Serna, hope it sends a message.
"So often, people just go past a cop and, 'Oh, I hope the cops don't stop me. I hope they don't get me.' But then they actually need them, they show up," she said. "And to find to they're human, too. They are fallible. They bleed and they die."
Trooper Butterfield was mourned by two families: The one that loved him as a son and future husband, and the one that loved him as a brother.
He served with honor and dedication.
MSP Director Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue talked about her feelings following the service.
"Heartbroken, yes, but I know that he impacted a lot of lives and should we all be looking to do that," she said.
Those who travelled to Manistee came from far and wide. Keith Leary traveled from Marysville, Washington to pay his respects to Butterfield.
People in law enforcement and other who rush in to help when the rest of us are running away creates a bond few other careers can boast.
They depend on each other, sometimes in the most dangerous situations. When one falls they all mourn, no matter the distance.
"I don't think allot of people realize what that bond is," Leary said. "I think they know what a family bond is when they lose a close family member. That is similar to what our bond is."
Several officers made the point that they will all mourn together Saturday, but they'll put the loss at the back of their minds Sunday and go back to work.
Those wishing to make a memorial contribution to the Butterfield family may send checks payable to:
Michigan State Troopers Assistance Fund
1715 Abbey Rd, Suite B
East Lansing, MI 48823
Memo: Tpr. Paul Butterfield II
On Saturday, the Michigan State Spartans will be taking on the Ohio State Buckeyes for the Big Ten College Football title. On Friday, fans began gathering in Indianapolis for the big game.
Two Kalamazoo men are in jail after Kalamazoo officers found them with money stolen from Sunny Mart Friday afternoon.
Two people were taken to the hospital after one vehicle crossed the center line, causing a head-on crash in Ada Township Friday night.