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Fallen law enforcement deputy is brought home to Charles City

"It's a family. It doesn't matter what color the badge, it doesn't matter what color the shirt, what the uniform is, they're all brothers," Nick Zirbel, Ben's brother, said.

Posted: Sep. 17, 2018 4:22 AM
Updated: Sep. 17, 2018 8:54 AM

CHARLES CITY, Iowa - On Sunday, Charles City celebrated the life of one of their own, Ben Zirbel. 

Ben gew up in the small town and moved to Florida where he was a deputy with the Clay County Sheriff's Office. In August, he died in the line of duty in a motorcycle crash. 

Sunday's service began with a procession of local first responders through the town. Ben's siblings Nick and Shelby said from the moment of Ben's crash, local law enforcement wanted to honor Ben. 

"It's a family. It doesn't matter what color the badge, it doesn't matter what color the shirt, what the uniform is, they're all brothers," Nick Zirbel, Ben's brother, said.

"To see the support of that community and how much they still really cared...was really neat," she said.

And it hits close to home. Ben's dad is the former police chief of Charles City Police Department. 

"Being a cop just somehow floats to the surface of the family," Shelby said. "So I think he said are you sure you want to do that, and he saw the light in Ben's eyes and knew that was going to happen."

Two members of the Clay County Sheriff's Office in Florida also came out to the service in Charles City, carrying Ben's ashes into the service.

"He was more of a friend than a coworker," Deputy Ray Jackson said. "Now he's finally back home where he was born. So that's a complete honor to be here for that, for him, for his family."

"I wouldn't have missed it for the world to come out here to do this for him," Detective Andrew Koehler said. 

Nick and Shelby said the hometown memorial service is helping them mourn the loss of their brother. 

"Because you know everyone's suffering a little bit too," Nick said. "We're all kind of going through the same thing."

"And there's no way in heck he's going to be forgotten because there are too many memories floating around in this building today," Shelby added.

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