Saturday, March 20, 2010

“His Life Was Not Taken…

…He Gave It”
Elyria Police Officer Jim Kerstetter was honored today by thousands of people who lined the streets of Elyria as the funeral procession of 383 Police Cars and 40 Police Motorcycles made its way through the city.

The morning started at 7:30 a.m. at Bauer – Laubenthal – Mercado Funeral Home on Chestnut Ridge Road as Elyria Police Officers, Dispatchers, Auxiliaries and Civilian employees arrived. At 8:00 a.m. they entered the funeral home and paid their last respects to their fallen Brother and friend.

Shortly after the motorcade consisting only of Elyria Police, Lorain County Sheriff’s Department and a LifeCare Ambulance left the funeral home for LCCC. Riding in front of the hearse were Officers in Kerstetter’s Police Car with a drape over the light bar reading “Out of Service” and still bearing the “177” blue plates.

Shortly after the motorcade consisting only of Elyria Police, Lorain County Sheriff’s Department and a LifeCare Ambulance left the funeral home for LCCC.

The motorcade entered the college through the south drive and under a giant American Flag being suspended above by two Fire Department Ladder trucks from Sheffield Village and Avon. As they drove along the road on campus they witnessed the large number of Police vehicles.

The Cleveland Police Department Pipe and Drum Band played a drum cadence only as Kerstetter was carried into the Field House where thousands had gathered.

The service included speeches from Ministers, Mayor William Grace, Lt. Phil Hammonds and Kerstetter’s oldest and middle daughters. They told the audience that they were proud to be “Sponge Kids” and that they loved, respected and now miss their father.

Once the service concluded the hundreds of Police Officers went to their cars to begin the long procession that included a pause in front of the Elyria Police Station on West Ave. Making the turn by the Station the motorcade once again passed under a large American Flag, this time suspended by Tower trucks from Elyria and Lorain.

At the cemetery only Elyria Police joined the family and friends. After the final prayers by Father Krupp two American Flags were presented to the wife and mother of Kerstetter.

The silence of the moment was broken by a 21 shotgun salute presented by Avon Lake Police Department and then TAPS presented by two Ohio State Troopers.

While the Cleveland Police Department Pipe and Drum Band was finishing Amazing Grace a lone bagpiper began to play and walk away from the area while three Police helicopters, from Cleveland and the State Patrol, flew over.

After the service the family enjoyed lunch and fellowship with Officers from all over Ohio and around the United States and Canada at the Elyria Catholic coliseum.

During the service at the College Field House Father Krupp asked that Jim not be thought of as a victim. “Jimmy was not a victim. His life was not taken – He gave it.”

Please check back later for a complete photo gallery


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The description of Officer Kerstetter's funeral procession and graveside service left me deeply touched and tearful. Thank you, TMC, for sensatively covering this tragic but very impacting and meaningful story. I would have been among the many Elyrians standing along the roadside to honor him today if I were still living in Ohio.
Toni H.

11:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A very sad and tragic event. TMC News, you have done a fantastic job and presenting the facts and reporting unbiased while respecting the family and friends of Officer Kerstetter. Your professionalism truly stands out.

Brian Y.

8:13 AM  
Anonymous Bri3182 said...

He was an amazing man !!!! Touched many lives !!! GONE BUT NEVER FORGOTTEN "SPONGE" !! We miss you and always will.

9:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

when is all the pictures gonna be posted this was such a tragic event that happend to him and his family and to elyria citizens he will be deeply missed and never ever ever for gotten

9:19 AM  
Blogger twolabfamily said...

I was along side Abbe Rd to pay my respect for this wonderful father, husband and officer. I still teared up while reading your description. Thank you for the wonderful job you have done on covering this sad and tragic event. I hope I never have to witness this sort of thing again but to stand there and watch for 47 minutes from the time the first car came by to the last, I have never been so truly touch by the human spirit as I was on Saturday. Thank you everyone who took time out of their day to honor this wonderful and sadly missed man.

9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the beautiful way Officer Kerstetter's daughters handled this most horrific situation was a true testament to the kind of father he was and the kind of mother they have. These girls should be commended for bringing to everyone's attention the obvious relationship they had with their father that clearly came to light during all of the services. What an honor to him. our thoughts and prayers will be with you especially now in the days after when things are quiet and the sadness really hits you. Be strong and give it time - you will feel normal again and be able to think of your father and husband without so much pain.

2:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you everyone who took the time to line the streets that day. As painful as it was and still is to mourn the untimely passing of a dear friend, it was truely touching to see such an outpouring of love and support from the community. Rest in peace Jimmy.

3:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A very sad day in Elyria. As tragic as the event was, I am sure Jimmy would be touched by the overwhelming support the community showed to honor him and his family these past few days! TMC did an amazing and respectful job covering this event. Your professionalism and courtesy did not go unnoticed. "Sponge" will never be forgotten. His family is in my thoughts and prayers during these difficult days ahead of them.

9:11 PM  

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