Wife of Corporal Eugene Cole responds to thousands who have reached out to her family
PORTLAND (WGME) – The wife of fallen hero Corporal Eugene Cole says she is trying to respond to the thousands of people who have reached out to her and her family in Norridgewock.
Sheryl Cole says she has had some time to reflect on the sights and sounds of the touching tribute to a fallen hero, her husband, Corporal Eugene Cole.
"Everything about it was spectacular and Gene would have loved it,” Cole said. “I, and my family, wanted to shake the hands of each person that was there, to personally thank them for their support and comfort. We quickly realized that was utterly impossible. But, we still wish we could have."
Her son David, now a detective with the Somerset County Sheriff's Department, had people in tears as he shared the pain of having to tell his mother his father had been killed.
He called his mother "one of the strongest people on Earth."
"My son's tribute was a complete surprise to me,” Cole said. “As far as me being the strongest person he knows, I may have been, in that situation. But when a son has to tell his mother that his dad has been killed, who's the strong one?"
Cole says she knew the flyover representing five different state law enforcement agencies was coming, but it still gave her chills.
"If you want to know how to be a real community, look at Norridgewock, Maine,” Cole said. “If you want to know how you should treat respect and honor law enforcement, look at the State of Maine. And if you want to know how law enforcement should act and interact with the community, look at the Somerset County Sheriff's Department. The way everyone has conducted themselves during this horrible ordeal is the standard that every community should try and reach for."
Sheryl Cole says she stays close to home, savoring her memories of the man she married 41 years ago.
"I spend most of my time writing thank you cards and I hope to get one to every single person that sent us cards, letters, gifts, donations,” Cole said. “I'm handwriting these myself, and there are thousands of letters and cards from all over the country, and some from out of the country. I read every card and every letter."
And as for moving on from here, Sheryl Cole says her son David helped her see the path forward.
"David's words, about the end not being written yet, are what made me realize I can go on," Cole said.
Sheryl Cole says she hopes this feeling of community and genuine caring about your neighbor will continue throughout Maine and the rest of the country.