PORTLAND – About 3,000 people filled the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland Tuesday to say goodbye to Maine State Trooper Ben Campbell.
Some knew the fallen detective, others did not — but nearly all were moved to tears by the emotional memorial service.
There were hardly any dry eyes Tuesday, as Hilary Campbell said goodbye to her soulmate.
“To me, you didn’t just become a hero on April 3rd,” said Hilary Campbell. “You were my hero the first day I met you.”
Family, friends and law enforcement from across the country paid their respects to Detective Ben Campbell.
“If there was a recipe on what makes an outstanding Maine Trooper, Ben Campbell had all the right ingredients,” said Maine State Police Col. John Cote.
“Together we will get through this. We will,” Col. Cote later added, “but we will never be exactly the same.”
On the day after what would have been Det. Campbell’s 32nd birthday, many were still struggling to understand the bizarre accident that claimed the Maine State Trooper’s life.
“How can such a horribly impossible chain of events or dark stars align,” said Maine State Police Supv. Terry James. “What kind of world do we live in when a kind, brave, young, wonderful husband and father stops his car during a snowstorm to help someone else, and a second later is gone?”
There were lots of tears, but laughs, too, to remember a man who always saw the good in any situation.
“Negativity and complaining simply weren’t part of Ben’s DNA,” said Maine State Police Lt. Sean Hashey.
As the healing process begins, many hope to carry on the Trooper’s legacy.
“If you are ever in doubt of what is right, or afraid of what might happen, if you seek some higher purpose in any of this, or need a reason to do what needs to be done, here is one: because Ben Campbell did,” said Supv. James, “and that’s good enough for us.”