OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - It's a day many of officer Stephen Bond's family and friends say they never thought would come, even as the search for him dragged on. Now more than a month after Bond went missing during a boat accident off of Horn Island, he was remembered Saturday with high honors.
Local law enforcement lined up to escort Bond's family into First Baptist Church in Ocean Springs. Other officers from various departments across South Mississippi attended the service, to say goodbye to their colleague.
Faint sobs were all that could be heard when Bond was given U.S. Marine Corp honors, and Taps was played in his memory. The former Marine's survival training has given his family hope that he could have survived the boating accident for the past four months.
In Saturday's service, his family said it was time to move forward without Stephen, but they will always remember his bravery.
In the eulogy his sister Amy Hunter said, "Who needs a superhero? I've got a big brother."
Hunter recounted stories that brought laughter, tears and comfort to those who knew him best. They described him as a fun-loving, loyal, proud father who was truly dedicated to public service, both in the military, and as a police officer.
"He was always in front, or at that line in the sand," said Ocean Springs Deputy Police Chief Mark Dunston. "Keeping the darkness where it belongs. At bay."
Officers presented flags in Bond's honor to both his mother, and his wife. Bond leaves behind his wife, mother, sister and two children, 7-year-old Ethan and 10-month-old Rhilee.
"They have a lot of support around them, a lot of help," said Patrice Seymour, a close friend of Bond's. "And we're going to make sure that his children know about him and don't forget. And remember their dad."
He also leaves behind his brothers and sisters in law enforcement. Bond worked with the Jackson County Sheriff's Department, and the Gautier and Ocean Springs Police Departments.
"We really appreciate all the officers from different agencies that have shown up," said Steve Futral with the Ocean Springs Police Department. "Biloxi Police Department patrolling our city for us right now so the officer that were on duty could come over here. Just the show of support from all the police departments is really touching to all of us."
There are two accounts set up in Bond's honor to benefit his wife two children. Anyone who wants to help out his family can donate to Regions or Hancock Banks. Just ask for the account set up Stephen Bond's name.