AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Hundreds of law enforcement officers turned out to pay tribute and say goodbye to a young man taken too soon.

Twenty-year-old Fryeburg Police officer Nathan Desjardins was remembered today during a memorial service. He passed away earlier this month from injuries he suffered in the line of duty.

Officers from throughout Maine and beyond converged on the Augusta Civic Center to honor Desjardins. They lined up outside the building, as the urn containing the young man’s ashes and his family, made their way into the memorial service.

Memorial to fallen police officer honors a life of service

Desjardins was a reserve officer with the Fryeburg department assisting the Maine Warden Service in the search for a missing canoeist when his boat struck something and flipped over.

“As the chaplain for the warden service says quite often, you can’t subtract the pain of this, all you can do is add love and that’s what this entire community is trying to do here today,” said Col. Joel Wilkinson of the Maine Warden Service.

The young man was described as a hard worker dedicated to public service. In his short life, he served as an EMT, firefighter and police officer. Joshua Potvin was his chief in Fryeburg.

“Your professionalism, dedication, enthusiasm and ultimate personal sacrifice for the betterment of our community, will never be forgotten,” he told reporters after the service.

Desjardins will certainly never be forgotten by Brooke Arthers, who took the news of his passing especially hard.

“I don’t think I could even scratch the surface of how deeply this has affected me,” she said.

Arthers was a longtime friend of Nathan Desjardins, attending school with him since the fifth grade. As tragic as his death is, she says the way he died, trying to save someone, epitomizes who he was.

“Like they said today at the service, Nathan had a hero's heart and Nathan passed away with a hero's heart. He was just really out to help others”, she said.

Smaller, private services and remembrances will be held for him tomorrow in Waterville.

Desjardins is the 79th police officer in Maine to die in the line of duty.