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Hundreds of police cruisers help lead procession for Trooper Caleb Starr

Starr buried in his hometown of Mason on Saturday
Posted at 3:33 PM, Aug 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-08 23:26:47-04

MASON, Mich. — It was a day filled with emotions in Mason, Michigan on Saturday, where well over 100 police cruisers filled the streets from all over the state to lead a procession for Michigan State Police trooper Caleb Starr.

Starr tragically passed away on July 31, three weeks after a July 10 crash with a drunk driver in Ionia County.

"He was one of those kind of guys that was looking for a way to be involved," said Starr's uncle, Jim Couchenour, "he wanted to make a difference in life."

That's the way those close to Trooper Starr described him, as a man who was full of life and loved his young family.

"You can't replace Caleb," Couchenour added, "it's a hole that will be there forever. How do you overcome that? One step at a time, one day at a time."

On Saturday, in his hometown of Mason, Trooper Starr was laid to rest with the help of dozens of police agencies from all over the state.

"This is a tragic thing," said Lt. Brian Oleksyk of Michigan State Police, "it's sad. This is the Michigan State Police way, because were family to him, this is our way of honoring him and saying goodbye to him."

Members of the community also came out to show their love and appreciation for the trooper. Theresa Buttleman is the wife of a firefighter and wanted to teach their four children a valuable lesson by being in attendance.

"When we lose one in our community, it effects us all," Buttleman said emotionally, "it doesn't matter if you're a fire fighting family, a law enforcement family, or EMS family."

The 33-year-old began working with the Michigan State Police Lakeview post in September of 2018 and made an immediate impact.

"He was a dedicated employee," added Lt. Oleksyk, "he embodied what it meant to be a trooper and a public servant."

Saturday's procession was a perfect sendoff for a man who dedicated his life to others.

"I teared up," Buttleman added, "you worry that it could be your family some day, your brother, your dad, it's sombering, to be honest."

Trooper Starr leaves behind a wife and two young daughters and will always be remembered as a family man with a passion for helping others.