Posted: Dec 7, 2010 11:25 PM by Dan Boyce
Updated: Dec 8, 2010 9:40 AM
Saying goodbye to Trooper David James DeLaittre brought with it the complex web of emotion seen at any funeral.
Grief, sorrow, helplessness--each took their turn on the podium during the Tuesday service. But you could also feel pride washing over that gymnasium, and above all else, you could feel love.
"A funeral service tugs at our heartstrings like nothing else does," said Gallatin County Sheriff Chaplain Warren Hiebert. "Our loved one is gone, killed in the line of duty."
"Heaven got an early Christmas present on December 1, and we received a large injury to heal down here," said Dennis DeLaittre, the victim's father.
All branches of law enforcement and emergency services stood as one family.
"He made the ultimate sacrifice, and I want to come here and honor that," said Corporal Steven Devore of the Florida Highway Patrol.
Chaplain Hiebert told the crowd to never forget this man of courage and integrity. He reminded the crowd of the oath taken by DeLaittre and every other officer.
"To protect and to serve, so help me god," Hiebert said.
"We don't know what he may have prevented by putting his life on the line that day," said family friend Bryan Adams.
Favorite stories from old friends drew outright laughter from an audience in mourning. Young David DeLaittre was painted as a bit of a prankster, a total craftsman constantly working on cars or in the woodshop. His loved ones say he was kind, honest man-a gentle warrior.
Following the playing of Taps and Amazing Grace, Highway Patrol Dispatch crackled to life in the gym, relieving the trooper of his charge.
"Copy 269, you are now off shift," the radio said. "We cherish your memory, your dedication and service to the Montana Highway Patrol and the people of Montana."
David James DeLaittre--fifth generation lawman-taken far too soon.