LOCAL NEWS

Veterans, police officers join community members to line funeral route with 250 American flags, blue ribbon

May 12, 2024, 10:31 PM | Updated: May 13, 2024, 10:08 am

OREM The body of fallen Santaquin police officer Sgt. Bill Hooser will be brought to Orem Monday morning for his funeral service.

Several blocks designated as the procession route to the UCCU Center on Utah Valley University‘s campus are now lined with flags and ribbons. 

Funeral arrangements for Santaquin Police Sgt. Bill Hooser

Dozens of people from the community came together to set it all up. 

The American Legion Orem Post 72 helped supply around 125 flags. The Orem Police Department handed out blue ribbon to community members who showed up to help hammer the flags down into the ground and tie ribbon around trees and fence posts on 1200 West, from the UVU campus all the way to Center Street. 

“Driving down the street, you kind of get choked up a little bit because it’s a lot of emotions coming in,” said Tess Shoop, who works for Orem City. “You know what the officer did for our community and how he sacrificed himself in the line of duty for our community to keep us safe.” 

She said she knows what kind of an impact officers have on a city. 

“I don’t think this is necessarily a super happy experience, but it is a good thing to see as well that the community can come together like this,” Shoop said. 

Volunteers of all ages

Several volunteers of all ages turned up to help decorate Sunday night. 

“It’s actually really refreshing to see that we almost had so many people show up to help tie ribbons and flags that it almost felt like we didn’t even need to be here,” she said. 

Orem resident Cheryl Bailey waited outside of her apartment for her turn to decorate the street. 

“Tying a ribbon around even one tree is my way of support,” she said. 

She’ll be back out in the morning. 

“I don’t think I’ll be the only one here tomorrow morning, I think there’s going to be a big line up,” Bailey said. 

She has family members who work in law enforcement. 

“I have a niece whose husband is in law enforcement,” Bailey said. “I’ve always respected the police, and it means a lot to me when someone dies in the line of duty.” 

Thinking of the family

She said she can’t stop thinking about Hooser’s family. 

“I’m praying for you, I think about you, I want you to have the support that you need and that you want, and that you’ll be able to figure out where to go from here,” Bailey said. 

Off-duty officers from nearby departments helped hammer the flags into the ground, 15 feet apart. 

Members of the American Legion Post 72 help set them up and take them down for more than 100 funerals each year. 

“It’s an act of service, but we get well rewarded. Our reward is more than what money can buy,” said commander Rodney Gardner. 

These men say they do it for the officer’s family. 

“I’m sure it’ll be a tear jerking experience for them,” Gardner said. “It is to me, every time I see those flags fly.” 

He said a funeral celebrating the long life of someone who served can be like a celebration, but he said  this time around will be different. 

“When we have a veteran pass away that’s in their 80s or 90s or 100, there’s kind of a joyful occasion, spiritual and you just get a good warm feeling,” Gardner said. “But when someone dies so young then it’s a tearful occasion and so sad that a life had to be taken.” 

Those in this part of Utah County said they’re proud to support this fallen officer and his fellow men and women in uniform. 

“My heart goes out to the family and all other law enforcement people, and when they say that all throughout the state and even country are coming out, I want to be a part of that in my own little way,” Bailey said. 

Hooser’s funeral service is scheduled to begin at Monday 10 a.m.


Additional reading:

Local businesses rally to raise money for Sgt. Hooser’s family

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Veterans, police officers join community members to line funeral route with 250 American flags, blue ribbon