HAMPDEN, Maine — The town of Hampden said goodbye to a loyal friend and Hampden Academy resource officer as he retired his badge on Thursday.
Sergeant Dan Stewart has been an officer with the Hampden Police Department for 36 years, 12 of those he served with students at the school.
Students and staff threw him a surprise goodbye—a party disguised as a pep rally—to share their gratitude for his unwavering support.
Steward said the surprise was a confirming job well done.
"I'm not a big person for show and this and that, I was hoping to fade into the sunset, but this is really nice," Stewart said.
Often referred to by students as "Stewie," senior Jonathan Bouchard said Stewart was also a close friend to students.
"I have millions of selfies in my phone of just Stewie and I," Bouchard said, "I was going to start crying, this is a big deal. I'm really going to miss Stewie."
That support not going unnoticed, during a time when safety in the classroom is not guaranteed.
"Nothing is a guarantee, but if I can make them more comfortable here so they can concentrate on their lessons and not have to worry about, 'Am I safe, and something is going to happen?' then I've done my job," Stewart said.
Stewart had his final sign-off at the Hampden Town Administrative offices Thursday evening.