It was not a good start to our vacation. I heard about the boat accident and who was involved on the first day of our vacation and struggled to grasp it throughout the week. Don will certainly be missed in this community. He was a wonderful asset, officer and peace keeper.
Don kept the peace in Hancock in his own unique way. If there was a disagreement, he went to the source and tried to talk to the parties, usually bringing about peace through his advice and suggestions.
His presence was known even if it wasn't always seen. Crime was kept at a minimum simply because criminals never really knew where he was or when he would be on duty. He patrolled at different hours and in different ways to keep people guessing. People respected him and he was easy to talk to no matter what time of day.
Don loved and protected the children in our community. He always had time to talk to them, hand out baseball cards and took time to conduct the Bike Rodeo in June. He watched what they were doing, where they were going and gently guided them back on the straight and narrow if they tended to go astray.
He was never out to meet a quota or look for reasons to make an arrest. Instead he took the time to remind people of the laws and encourage them to be obeyed. It usually only took one reminder. You just liked Don and didn't want to disappoint him.
I spent many council meetings sitting next to Don. I was impressed by his monthly reports and surprised at the number of different things he did each month. He spent a lot of time on first responder calls, accident scenes, fire calls, domestic disputes, welfare checks, looking for lost children or adults, checking locked (or unlocked) doors, and simply watching for unusual activity or individuals. He also kept up-to-date on new technology and laws by attending conferences and meetings. His last big contribution to the City of Hancock was the new police car which he worked diligently to outfit with equipment obtained through grants.
I know that I am one of many who will miss Don a lot. His will be big shoes to fill and a bigger heart to replace. He was a peaceful man bringing peace to a small town. May he now rest in peace.