|Updated: 2/06 9:13 pm
||Published: 2/06 7:45 pm
People from across Arkansas were in Searcy to remember a fallen hero and a life taken too soon.
The funeral for Officer Will McGary was held Wednesday afternoon after he was hit by a driver last week while directing traffic in Conway.
Officer McGary was described as a devout Child of God. Wednesday-those who knew him best and people who didn't even know him at all, celebrated his life and said goodbye."
"He gave his life doing what he loved to do, he loved that," said Pastor James Hays.
Officer McGary's long time pastor says the 26-year-old was working his dream job. Hays says McGary was a strong athlete who also had a huge heart.
"As big as he was, he was a gentle giant. I never heard him backtalk his dad, his mom or say anything negative about his sister," said Hays.
Wednesday, over a thousand people filed into the Valley Baptist Church in Searcy to remember McGary, including every single one of his fellow officers in Conway. The city was protected by other agencies while those in blue-paid their respects.
Mayor Tab Townsell says it was nearly overwhelming.
"It makes you feel good to be part of a group, an organization like the Conway Police Department," said Townsell.
Officers from agencies as far as Memphis and Rogers-also attended knowing, all too well, it could happen to anyone who's taken a vow to serve and protect.
Officer McGary's legacy on their minds-as an entire community says thank you for his ultimate sacrifice.
"You May Say Goodby to him, But I'm going to say Will, See You Later," said Hays.
It was definitely a very difficult day for everyone. But one strong message of the service---to say "thank-you" and show gratitude for those who, just like Officer McGary, put themselves in danger everyday-to protect the public.