Retired Coon Rapids police officer dying from cancer given special sendoff
COON RAPIDS, Minn. (KMSP) - A Coon Rapids police officer spent more than 20 years serving the community he loved.
Now video of his final ride home has gone viral.
After spending 26 years as everything from a patrol officer to a demolition man on the drug task force, Denny Preston decided to call it quits from the Coon Rapids Police Department.
But 16 years after his retirement, he was diagnosed with bladder cancer and by the time doctors caught it, the cancer had already spread to his brain, lungs and heart.
But Preston didn't want to spend his final moments in the hospital, so he decided to go home for hospice care.
"I thought to myself, 'It would be nice to have one police car escort him home' and we talked to police and they took it from there," said Preston's daughter Missy Rumble.
Not only did a couple of squad cars follow Preston's ambulance from the hospital, about a dozen officers were waiting to salute him in his driveway when he got home.
"It's so hard when someone is dying like that. He was such a wonderful person. Had a great career. We just wanted to do what we could to honor him in his last days and hours," Coon Rapids Police Capt. Tom Hauly said.
Even though Preston died the next day, his daughter posted video of his homecoming on the Love What Matters Facebook page.
So far it has been viewed over 7 million times and has thousands of comments.
"While it's really great to get this response, the circumstances surrounding it. When we would read them would make us cry," Preston's youngest daughter Tami Serna said.
Preston may have given his all to the thin blue line, but the thin blue line gave back when it matter the most.
"I want people to feel happy my dad touched all these lives and that police officers do have another side to them," Rumble said.
Captain Hawley says in his 29 years with the department, he's never seen an honor guard like that for one of their own.
Then again, he says there has never been an officer like Denny Preston.