Sean O'Connell wasn't there on Wednesday, the first day of school, to see his daughter begin kindergarten and his son start second grade. So his buddies did it for him.
O'Connell, 38, died May 31 in an on-duty motorcycle crash. He had been a trooper for 16 years. The day he died, he was working traffic control related to the Skagit River bridge collapse.
O'Connell adored his children. They were his joy. At the trooper's memorial service in June, 2,200 people saw a slideshow showing O'Connell holding his children, smiling, making goofy faces -- photo after photo, each full of a father's love.
"It was Sean I looked to for finding strength and being a good dad," his older brother Fran O'Connell told the crowd.
Knowing their friend wouldn't have missed the first day of school, O'Connell's fellow motorcycle troopers stepped in, riding behind the bus to school. They walked the kids to class. O'Connell's wife snapped pictures, making new memories for a different life.
The troopers also stopped to take pictures with other children at the school.
"Sean was so much a part of that school," Snohomish County Executive John Lovick said. "Sean would be so very, very proud."
Lovick, a retired state trooper, was O'Connell's sergeant for six years. He thought of the trooper as a son.
"That's the State Patrol. That's the family Sean had. That's the family that continues on," Lovick said.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; firstname.lastname@example.org.
More Local News Headlines
Former county ombudsman John Koster files $950K claim Tulalip Tribes give nonprofits $5.8M in 'Raising Hands' initiative Driver wipes out 5 cars at Everett repair shop 4:19 a.m. Lawmakers seek input on education funding in Everett on Tuesday Cascade senior wants to expand her interests in robotics Audit: City of Snohomish over-claimed $125K for roundabout costs Arlington thrift shop gives special-needs kids real-world skills Front Porch: Volunteers sought for Evergreen fair advisory board
Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.