Law enforcement agencies from across Vermont gathered Friday morning to pay tribute to a longtime police officer who lost his battle with cancer.
Cruisers processed through the city of Winooski, then lined up with their lights flashing outside the funeral in Colchester for Lt. Mike Cram.
The law enforcement agencies joined friends and relatives in celebrating Cram’s life. He died last weekend at age 48, after a difficult cancer fight.
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The services started at 9:19 a.m., matching the officer’s badge number.
Cram served the Winooski Police Department for 12 years, and before that, was an officer in the towns of Milton and Williston, and a sheriff’s deputy in Chittenden County.
Cram was also a veteran of the Vermont National Guard, serving for 30 years, including missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Cram was awarded medals of valor and a Purple Heart for a tour in Afghanistan, when his military vehicle took heavy fire.
Despite Cram being wounded in the attack, his commander, Larry Doane, recently wrote on Facebook that Cram managed to help organize his platoon, render aid to injured troops, and take other critical steps to ensure the safety of his fellow soldiers.
"It was one of the worst ambushes I’ve seen," Doane wrote on Facebook last month. "Without Mike’s heroism, those brave Americans in his platoon would be remembered on memorial walls and not sitting around Thanksgiving dinner with their families."
Lt. Mike Arcovitch of the Vermont National Guard was a longtime family friend, and said earlier this week that he considered Cram like an uncle to him.
"I'm just so proud to have known him," Arcovitch said of Cram. "And obviously the loss is just pretty tough for a lot of folks."
Lt. Cram was a big supporter of Camp Ta-Kum-Ta in the Champlain Islands, a non-profit that gives pediatric cancer patients a summer camp experience.
Cram directed money from his life insurance policy to benefit the camp, and some colleagues have encouraged others to donate to Camp Ta-Kum-Ta in Cram’s memory.