ELKHART — Through tears and salutes, family, friends and police officers gathered to remember Officer Phil Rissot.
Rissot, 39, of Middlebury, lost his battle with leukemia Feb. 4 in Indianapolis. He was a 15-year veteran with the Goshen Police Department. His loved ones gathered under a bright blue sky Monday, Feb. 10, for his funeral ceremony at New Life Church.
Officers from the Goshen Police Department as well as officers from other agencies, including the Elkhart County Sheriff's Department, the Elkhart Police Department, Indiana State Police and the Middlebury Police Department, attended the ceremony.
Rissot was diagnosed with leukemia Oct. 14, 2013. After feeling weak, he took one night off his shift and went to IU Health Goshen Hospital. He was soon taken to Indianapolis for treatment.
His colleagues were quick to offer moral and financial support by shaving their heads and raising money. On Jan. 11, officers organized a steak dinner to raise funds for Rissot's treatment.
The response from fellow officers as well as the community was overwhelming, according to chaplain Jim Shrock.
Goshen Police Chief Wade Branson spoke during the ceremony, touting Rissot's strength, courage and professionalism, especially while battling cancer.
"He was a good officer, and his sense of humor, spirit, enthusiasm for life, will always be remembered at the Goshen Police Department," he said.
Branson went on to offer Rissot's family the department's full support.
"Please know that we will be there for you moving forward... You'll always be part of the family," Branson told Rissot's wife, Jennifer Rissot.
Shrock talked about his relationship with Phil Rissot, which grew after the officer was diagnosed. Shrock said he was the chance to learn about Rissot's interests, his struggles in his battle and his anxiousness, not for himself, but for his family.
Shrock also talked about the calling answered by men and women to become officers.
"My family and I are safe because of the calling that you have answered," Shrock said. "You do this for little pay, a very rare thank you, and little-to-no respect from the general populace."
After a few more words of remembrance, the officers and family members left the auditorium quietly. Officers showed their respect through salutes as the casket made its way out the church.