NORRIDGEWOCK, Maine — It's been nearly a year since Somerset County sheriff's deputy Cpl. Eugene Cole lost his life on the line of duty.
Now, those who knew Cole personally and professionally are honoring his memory, close to home in his hometown of Norridgewock.
On Monday, April 22, the Franklin County Sheriff's Department revealed a special project in Cole's name that has been in the works since July.
The memorial -- a new, polished granite bench -- sits in Oosoola Park. It overlooks a bridge, named after the fallen officer, on the Kennebec River and reads:
IN MEMORY OF CORPORAL EUGENE COLE
SOMERSET COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
END OF WATCH APRIL 25, 2018
Det. Kenneth Charles from the Franklin County Sheriff's Office was Cole's neighboring colleague. They worked alongside each other for between 12 and 13 years, and he says the two departments have a long history of collaboration.
"We as colleagues decided to memorialize a really great guy," said Charles. "He was one of those people that could talk to anybody because they always knew he was going to treat them fairly and respectfully."
Charles says that Cole used to frequent Oosoola Park with his grandchildren, which makes the bench's location even more meaningful.
Charles thanked Wiles Remembrance Center of Farmington for putting the department's ideas onto granite and Norridgewock's town manager, Richard LaBelle, for helping the department find the perfect location for the bench -- one of reflection and remembrance.
In a Facebook post, Cole's wife, Sheryl, thanked the Franklin County Sheriff's Association, calling the memorial "incredible".
In addition to the bench and other memorials, the town of Norridgewock also announced that April 25 will be a day officially named and dedicated to Cole's remembrance.
The bench is a reminder that although seasons change, the name and legacy of this beloved officer will never be forgotten.
They live on in the hearts of those who knew Cpl. Cole, 362 days after his passing -- and now, they are quite literally set in stone.
"Rest easy, Cpl. Cole," Charles wrote in a Facebook post on behalf of the Franklin County Sheriff's Office. "Love and respect for you and your loved ones."