More than 3,000 people gathered on a beautiful, sunny Monday afternoon at Civic Field in Port Angeles to remember U.S. Forest Service officer and longtime Forks resident Kristine Fairbanks.
Fairbanks was killed Sept. 20 near the Dungeness Forks Campground when she confronted a man, later identified as 36-year-old Shawn M. Roe of Everett, who was driving a van with no license plates.
"We lost a good friend and outstanding law enforcement officer. We could line up speakers until dark to talk about her," said The Rev. Pamela Hunter from Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Forks.
"I knew Kris as a wife and mother as well as a law enforcement officer. She was an amazing handler and trainer of dogs and an excellent Sunday school teacher," Hunter told the crowd.
Fairbanks once arranged a "blessing of the animals" for students' pets, she said.
Tom Lyons, a special agent with the U.S. Forest Service, said Fairbanks had a special relationship with her police dog Radar and would sign her e-mails, "Love, Kris and Radar."
She had a zest for life and family and spoke of them often, Lyons said.
"We lost one of our best," he said. "It's a void we can never fill."
Anne Minden, also a special agent with the Forest Service, said Fairbanks was her "best friend, confidant and partner."
They always knew exactly what the other person was thinking, she said.
Fairbanks was a collector and protector of stray dogs and cats, Minden said.
Port Angeles Police Cpl. Kevin Miller, a longtime friend of Fairbanks, said her husband Brian was a saint for tolerating her dogs.
Miller choked up as he said, "I thank both Brian and Whitney for sharing her with me."
The two-hour ceremony began with K-9 officers and their dogs walking onto the field in a perimeter around the stage set up on the grass at Civic Field.
Fairbanks's U.S. Forest Service vehicle, F951, was parked on Civic Field during the ceremony.
Race Street and adjacent streets were lined with federal, state and local law enforcement vehicles from across the state plus Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers in full dress uniform.
A slow procession of vehicles and uniformed officers moved west along Fourth Street before turning north to enter the field.
A flower-lined carriage base with an urn containing Fairbanks' ashes was carried onto the field as bagpipes played a funeral dirge.
The ceremony included the singing of the Canadian national anthem, "O Canada" as well as "The Star-Spangled Banner."
It was followed by "When I Get Where I'm Going" by Brad Paisley, one of two songs requested by Fairbanks' daughter, Whitney.
Despite the large number of people, vehicles and dogs, the area was still and silent except for the clicking of cameras and a constant beeping from electronic equipment in the area.
A distant police siren provided a reminder that the law enforcement officers' job doesn't stop even while honoring one of their own.
The silence was broken by the collective whining and howling from many of the assembled police dogs, perhaps upset by high-pitched noises from the numerous pieces of electronic equipment.
It was a scene perhaps out of place at a memorial service but seemingly appropriate for one honoring a K-9 officer who repeatedly was described as a dog lover.
Gov. Chris Gregoire was escorted onto the field, followed by Fairbanks' family and friends.
She said to remember and honor Fairbanks, who was "incredibly brave" to work alone in Olympic National Forest.
Fairbanks was a mother, daughter, friend and fellow officer who was the true definition of a peace officer, the governor said.
Hunter said Fairbanks' family has asked people to grieve also for 59-year-old Richard Ziegler, of Sequim, the second person killed Sept. 20, after Fairbanks.
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