Veterans and police officers join community members to line the funeral route with 250 American flags and a blue ribbon

OREM The body of fallen Santaquin police officer Sgt. Bill Hooser will be brought to Orem for his memorial service Monday morning.

Several blocks designated as a processional route to the UCCU Center on the Utah Valley University campus are now lined with flags and ribbons.

Funeral arrangements for Santaquin Police Sgt. Bill Hooser

Dozens of people from the community came together to set everything up.

The American Legion Orem Post 72 helped provide approximately 125 flags. The Orem Police Department handed out blue ribbons to community members who helped hammer the flags into the ground and tie ribbons around trees and fence posts on 1200 West, from the UVU campus to Center Street.

“When you’re driving down the street, you get a little choked up because there are so many emotions,” said Tess Shoop, who works for Orem City. “They know what the officer has done for our community and how he has sacrificed himself in service to our community to keep us safe.”

She said she knows the impact public officials have on a city.

“I don’t think this is necessarily a particularly happy experience, but it’s also good to see that the community can come together in this way,” Shoop said.

Volunteers of all ages

Several volunteers of all ages came Sunday evening to help with the decorations.

“It’s actually really refreshing to see that almost so many people came to help tie ribbons and flags that it almost seemed like we didn’t even need to be here,” she said.

Orem resident Cheryl Bailey waited outside her apartment for her turn to decorate the street.

“Tiing a ribbon around even just a tree is my way of showing support,” she said.

She’ll be out again tomorrow morning.

“I don’t think I’ll be the only one here tomorrow morning, I think there will be a big turnout,” Bailey said.

She has family members who work in law enforcement.

“I have a niece whose husband is a police officer,” Bailey said. “I have always respected the police and it means a lot to me when someone dies in the line of duty.”

I think about the family

She said she couldn’t stop thinking about Hooser’s family.

“I’m praying for you, I’m thinking about you, I want you to have the support you need and want and that you’ll be able to figure out where to go from here,” Bailey said.

Off-duty officers from surrounding departments helped hammer the flags into the ground 15 feet apart.

American Legion Post 72 members help set up and dismantle more than 100 funerals each year.

“It is an act of service, but we are well rewarded. Our reward is more than what money can buy,” said Commander Rodney Gardner.

These men say they are doing it for the officer’s family.

“I’m sure it will be a tearful experience for them,” Gardner said. “It’s for me every time I see those flags flying.”

He said a funeral celebrating the long life of someone who served can be like a celebration, but he said this time it will be different.

“When we have a veteran pass away who’s in their 80s, 90s or 100, it’s kind of a joyful, spiritual occasion and you just have a good, warm feeling,” Gardner said. “But when someone dies so young, it’s a tear-jerking event and so sad that their life had to be taken.”

People in this part of Utah County said they were proud to support this fallen officer and his fellow soldiers in uniform.

“My heart goes out to the family and all the other law enforcement agencies, and when they say the whole state and even the whole country is pulling back, I want to be a part of that in my own way,” Bailey said.

Hooser’s funeral service is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Monday

Additional reading:

Local businesses are raising money for Sgt. Hooser’s family