WARREN — With more than 300 flags waving in a slight breeze, Illinois State Police Trooper Brooke Jones-Story’s life was celebrated at a memorial held Wednesday in the same high school gym where she once played volleyball.
Hundreds of mourners — family, friends and 1,300 police officers from across Illinois and surrounding states — filled the gym. The streets of this small town in northwest Illinois were lined with flags. Businesses displayed signs with words to memorialize the 34-year-old trooper, and students created signs to honor a woman known for her passion for law enforcement, and love of family and animals.
Jones-Story was struck and killed by a semitrailer on March 28 while conducting an inspection on another semitrailer that she had pulled over on U.S. Highway 20 near Freeport.
The nearly two-hour funeral was officiated by the Rev. Daniel Herman. Gov. JB Pritzker, acknowledging Jones-Story’s love of Disney films, offered a line from the movie “Cinderella” that says, “Have courage and be kind.”
Jones-Story was remembered for her kindness, her strong will and her dedication to the service and protection of others.
Her aunt, Judy Shaw, said her niece was a fierce competitor as a young athlete, and it was her competitive spirit that helped her live her dream to become a law enforcement officer.
“She had strength that drew her to her career of choice,” Shaw said. “But, I remember that young girl with red hair that was called ‘carrot top’ by her grandfather. She had such passion for animals, and it is a love that grew from when she was so young when she petted her first kitten.
“Her passion was real for her animals, in life, and I just want to say, her name was Brooke and she was doing her job.
Shaw said the town of 1,400 has been very supportive of Jones-Story’s family.
“To go through something like this humbles you, and our small community has showed heart for Brooke,” she said. “Brooke had heart, and you take guidance from what you can to just to get through it.”
Gayle Doersam, a former teacher who had Jones-Story in class, said the trooper played sports with her daughter Emily.
“Brooke was witty, and my daughter looked up to her,” Doersam said. “Brooke was inspiring, and what I remember most is her enthusiasm.”
Journalists from all over traveled to the town to cover the story. Those who didn’t attend the funeral, stood on sidewalks to witness the memorial, and at the end of the funeral, law enforcement officers stood at attention in the parking lot of the school. Patriot Guard Riders held flags as some wiped tears from their eyes.
Pritzker led the family to the parking lot for the ceremonial “End of Watch” call as the Illinois State Police Trooper’s remains were loaded into the hearse.
A final radio call was made for Jones-Story’s 16-42 call number. The message: “Thank you for your service.”