Webster, N.Y. - There were tears -- and some laughter, too -- as friends and family of Lieutenant Mike Chiapperini shared memories Sunday.
While listening to loved ones speak, if you had not known "Chip" as he was often called, by the end of the funeral, you wished you had.
With fanfare fit for a hero, the body of Mike Chiapperini, whose life was cut short by gunfire on Christmas Eve in Webster, was escorted in by bag pipers and drums. His casket was draped with an American flag as his comrades touched him one last time.
State troopers, police and firefighters filed in for almost a half-hour with final salutes and goodbyes.
"Mike will always be remembered as making us as a vital part in making us one of the most respected agencies in the county," said James Deisenroth, the West Webster Fire Chief.
Chiapperini's path to law enforcement began when he was a teen, when he became a volunteer firefighter. He started his police career as a dispatcher with the Webster Police Department
"Michael had a very certain sense of right and wrong," said Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering. "He gave his life for peace and justice."
Colleagues shared stories of how he rose through the ranks and how he would do anything for everyone, no questions asked.
"Last week I was changing a tire. He saw me doing it and within minutes he was out of his car. There was no doubt the thing was flat but he wanted to see where the leak was coming from," recalled a teary eyed Sergeant Dennis Kohlmeier of both the Webster Police Department and West Webster Fire District. "So he sprayed it with half a gallon of Windex. So I got stuck with a slippery wet tire that I had to carry back to my car."
Sometimes for loved ones at the podium, there were no words, only tears.
But together they stood, taking comfort in each other. It's those stories that they shared, moments of laughter they will hold on to, pieces of chip they will carry. Their time with "Chip" was short, with all saying they were grateful to have known him.
"Don't cry because it is over, smile because it has happened," said Pickering.
"We're here today because of Michael's passing. We mourn, we cry, but we do not break. The days of mourning will be few compared to the many times that we had with him," said Chiapperini's brother-in-law, Dane Erich.
Chiapperini's wife told us that although she's heartbroken and lonely, she's grateful to have been Chip's wife and to share three beautiful children.
The family says it's asking people to do acts of service in Chiapperini's honor.