On Wednesday, May 2, in the town of Bethlehem, Trooper David Brinkerhoff was remembered as a hero.
Church bells rang as the beat of slow, heavy drums played outside Bethlehem Lutheran Church where services were held for the sixth state trooper to be killed in the line of duty in New York within the last 13 months.
Trooper Brinkerhoff was one of our best citizens, said Gov. Eliot Spitzer who attended the service alongside Lt. Gov. David Patterson and State Police Superintendent Preston Felton. "He embodied everything it means to be to be a great New Yorker and he reminds us of the incredible bravery of all officers," said Spitzer.,
About 1,000 people attended the funeral inside the church. Another 4,000 to 5,000 police officers from as far away as California and as close to home as the Bethlehem police department stood in the church's parking lot and along Elm Avenue.
"Dave was a very committed, very dedicated father, husband, and trooper and he truly will be missed," said Bethlehem police Officer Rico Fiore, a friend of the fallen officer.
Fiore and Brinkerhoff first met at the officers' police academy. They each enjoyed jet skiing and Fiore attended Brinkerhoff's wedding at the Lutheran Church.
"It really hits home when someone as close as Dave is killed in the line of duty," Fiore said. "I'm still in shock."
Felton said Brinkerhoff is a true hero unlike the false celebrity hero worship that many in our society succumb to.
"David stood at the face of danger, not just this time but many times before," said the emotional Felton, who said Brinkerhoff served all New Yorkers.
"He paid the highest price anyone can pay and his actions saved lives that day."
Brinkerhoff leaves behind a wife, Barbara, and his 11-month-old daughter Isabella. In an open letter written for the church funeral program, Barbara Anne Brinkerhoff said David was her strength, her love, her best friend.