WATERLOO, Ill. — Look around Waterloo, and you will see the signs that a hero lived here. Blue ribbons are tied along light poles, one after another lining the streets in the center of the city.
There are the literal signs too on electronic billboards: messages that honor fallen Illinois state Trooper Nick Hopkins's heroism in a rotation with images of the black band on a police badge, a symbol that now bands this community together.
"In all honesty, I've never seen anything like it. It was just amazing," restaurant owner Penny Spalding said of the outpouring of support.
One of those signs is lit up outside Spalding's business, Bootsie's Restaurant & Bakery, both sit along the same road police used to bring Hopkins back home.
"Every car and every motorcycle that passed, I said a quick prayer for them because they put their lives on the line every day for us," Spalding said. "And we need to show our respect for them."
Terry Roderick's part of the team tasked with organizing and carrying out the logistics of Hopkins's funeral.
He says the husband and father of three obviously leaves a lasting mark on his family, but as an organ donor, he's still serving his community. The City of Waterloo will thank him as they sign off with a last radio call this weekend.
"It will be an amazing experience for the family to see that this loved one of theirs was a hero," Roderick said.