OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - "He come out. He put his life on the line every day. He's a hero," said Mike Sweeney with the Ocean Springs Police Department.
A hero and a brother is how Ocean Springs police officers will always remember Stephen Bond. Captain Mike Sweeney called Wednesday a hard, yet good day for his department.
"It comes as a double-edge sword today," Sweeney said. "We're very happy to be able to bring our comrade and our brother back home, and it's a great relief and closure for the family. However, it does remind us of our loss with Officer Bond."
The 32-year-old Bond disappeared near Horn Island on May 17th, 2009, after the boat he was on capsized during a storm. A fishing crew spotted his remains last Friday, at the north end of the Chandeleur Islands. Authorities in St. Bernard Parish used dental records to identify the body.
Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd remembers the month-long, agonizing search for the missing police officer. He even flew over the same area where Bond's remains were found.
"I'm thankful to the Lord, Jesus Christ, for getting him back to us, for his family. And that's the main thing, so we can have some closure," Sheriff Byrd said.
The closure brings comfort to so many people in Ocean Springs who pulled together to help Bond's wife and two young children. City Clerk Shelly Ferguson organized a huge yard sale that raised more than $21,000 for the family.
"I think it's good to know that he's at rest, and that for his mom, for his wife, that it'll be easier for them," said Ferguson.
And Boyce Nix, owner of BCN Cycle Works, spearheaded a bike run. He collected $1,250.
"We're glad that they found him," Nix said. "Now they can put closure with the family and now maybe she can get her benefits and get on with her life."
WLOX spoke briefly with Officer Stephen Bond's wife. Angela Bond said she is very distraught, yet relieved that her husband's remains have been found. And she said she is ready to bring him home.
"This young officer put his life on the line every day. All police officers do. It's just good that we can get him back for his family," said Sheriff Byrd.
As hard as the news is, the recovery of Officer Bond's remains means that the family will now be able to receive insurance, retirement benefits and social security income to help the children.