CONWAY (KATV) - Wednesday was a difficult day for Conway Police as fellow officer William McGary was laid to rest. But state troopers did more than send their condolences, they made it possible for these officers to say their last goodbyes.
"It's horrible it really is," said Keith Eremea, a state trooper.
He says he knows what it's like to lose a fellow officer in the line of duty. But he wanted to do something for Conway Police to make things just a little bit easier.
"We started answering calls for them about nine o' clock this morning and we'll finish about five, five thirty this afternoon," said Eremea.
Twenty officers from Conway, Garland and White County volunteered to pick up the shifts of Conway officers. All were able to attend McGary's funeral.
"A lot of the citizens when we first arrived wanted to know why it's a state trooper. But then when we tell them today was the day of the funeral they've been very supportive," said Eremea.
Firefighters also volunteered. Familiar with the city, they helped outside officers get around. Even if it meant coming in on their off day.
"They are on 24-hour shifts and they're normally off 48 hours," said John Skinner, a firefighters. "They're using their own time for this," he said.
And although none of these officers knew McGary personally, his death hit home for them.
"The ultimate goal is to come home at the end of the shift and be able to see your wife and family," said Brad Lann, a State Trooper. "And unfortunately it takes a turn for the worst and it doesn't always happen that way," he said.
But most importantly, it was a life lost that they say added something valuable to the Conway Police Department.
"He was an outstanding young man and an outstanding officer and that's what we need more of," said Chuck Lewis, a State Trooper.