NORRIDGEWOCK – One year to the day Corporal Eugene Cole, of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Department, died in the line of duty, his community is making sure his legacy is never forgotten.
“Gene was a good officer, just a good human being,” said Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster.
April 25th marks one year since Cole’s death. In his hometown of Norridgewock, it’s now Corporal Eugene Cole Day.
“It was a dark point in our town’s history, and as we look back one year later, we try to remember those days in a more positive light, in a way that reflects on Gene,” said Richard LaBelle, Norridgewock’s Town Manager.
For weeks, Norridgewock residents have been collecting donations in the corporal’s honor.
Thursday, his wife and daughter watched and helped deliver donations to nearby schools and food pantries.
Family members, along with Sheriff Lancaster, were there as a truck full of food items from Quimby Child Care Center were dropped off.
“I just hope that this can bring them one bright spot in the day to know that what Gene had to give is living on,” said LaBelle.
“We each brought one box in…because other people don’t have stuff like we do,” said Eliza, one little girl with the day care.
It’s hard to put into words what Cole continues to mean to his community, a place where no one has anything bad to say about him.
Most recently, he was memorialized with a bench in Oosoola Park.
Last year, a bridge in Norridgewock was dedicated and named in honor of Corporal Cole. Those who worked with him said he bridged the gap between law enforcement and those he served in the community.
“He epitomized community policing, way before it was named community policing,” said Sheriff Lancaster.
Cole was also honored with a moment of silence at 1:12 p.m. Thursday, also known as 1312 in military time, in honor of his call number.
“It’s actually quite humbling,” said Sheriff Lancaster. “And I think Gene would have been extremely pleased to know that this is the way he would be remembered in the community that he loved.”