ESTERO, Fla. — Hundreds of law enforcement officers paid their respects Wednesday to a fallen trooper with the Florida Highway Patrol. Master Sergeant Daniel Hinton suffered a deadly heart attack last week during a training exercise. He was fifty-six.
"Dan was very influential in our lives," said Lieutenant Greg Bueno of FHP. "We spent that morning with him, and the next thing we knew, our whole worlds were different."
At a memorial held at Hertz Arena in Estero, Hinton's wife Julie thanked FHP troopers for their kindness in the wake of her husband's passing.
"Dan would be so proud at how above and beyond everyone has gone for us," Julie Hinton said.
Hinton was well-known among fellow troopers as a K-9 officer, firearms instructor, and drug enforcement instructor.
Jose Patino, a long-time friend of Hinton's with the Michigan State Police, said Hinton was reminiscent of a sheepdog in his devotion to service.
"With his passion to protect the sheep, he made those around him better," Patino said.
The memorial service continued outside the arena with a twenty-one gun salute, a police helicopter fly-over and a flag-folding ceremony. Hinton's wife, three children and his mother were each presented with flags.
Hinton's sister Joy Lynn Hinton said she was proud to see how many people came to show their respects to her brother.
"I knew it was going to be more than family, but I didn't realize how many people he's helped," she said. "It's kind of cool."
"He was influential to all of us," Bueno said. "Anyone who had Daniel Hinton in their life was a better man or woman for it."
Hinton was a member of FHP for thirty-two years, joining in 1986. At the service, he was posthumously promoted to the rank of lieutenant.