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'Too close to the heart': Indiana State Police honors fallen troopers at memorial service

'Too close to the heart': Indiana State Police honors fallen troopers at memorial service



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More than 100 Indiana State Police troopers and guests gathered to watch a solemn  tradition unfold: the presentation of colors by the honor guard, the melancholy sound of taps, and the reading of the names of the 47 troopers who have died in the line of duty.

Some of those names included former colleagues and friends of ISP trooper Steve Romack, who more than once had to tell family members that their loved ones wouldn’t return home.

“I did a couple of notifications, which is probably the hardest job you’d ever have to do,” Romack said.

Romack officially retired from the Indiana State Police in 2012, but his pride for the agency and the memories of his fellow troopers remains strong.

“Too close to the heart,” said Romack. “Great bunch of people. Don’t get any better.”

He attended Tuesday’s ISP memorial service honoring fallen troopers as he does every year. Romack comes from a family of service, including his wife Renee Romack, who was in the military.

“I just can’t imagine a life without service to other people,” Renee Romack said. “It’s nice to come here and see (Indiana State Police) honor their own.”

ISP districts across the state honor fallen troopers every May, but last year’s statewide service was conducted virtually due to coronavirus restrictions. This year, the ceremony was held indoors in a conference room due to rain.

“Although it’s not the same that it has been historically, it’s just nice to gather and remember the sacrifices that these great troopers made,” ISP Sgt. John Perrine said.

This was also the first in-person service honoring Lafayette trooper Peter Stephan, who died in a 2019 crash while he was on his way to help another trooper.

Fatal crash: State trooper dies in crash while on his way to help another officer

“Anytime we have to add a name to that list, it’s heartbreaking,” Perrine said.

It’s important to show gratitude and remember the law enforcement officers who have been lost, even years later, according to the Romacks.

“We all share the same dirt, same trials and tribulations,” Steve Romack said.

“(It feels) humbling,” Renee Romack said. “With everything going on in the world today that they actually take time to remember the fallen.”

Contact IndyStar reporter Rashika Jaipuriar at and follow her on Twitter @rashikajpr.

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Published at Tue, 04 May 2021 20:40:16 +0000

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