Friends, family and colleagues gathered Friday afternoon (June 7) to say goodbye to Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Wildlife Officer Joel Campora, of Waldron.
“It’s such a celebration of what his life represented,” said Col. Jeff Crow with the AG&FC. “It’s truly, to me, it’s humbling to know that such men work in the organization that I lead.”
The memorial service was held at 1 p.m. at the Waldron High School Football Field located on W. Highway 80.
Law enforcement from all over Arkansas and as far away as Pennsylvania were on hand to honor their fallen brother.
“It doesn’t surprise me that this many people are here because he has an influence on everybody,” said Lacee Brown, who knew Campora as a youth pastor at their local church.
Campora, 32, lost his life while attempting to rescue two women from swift water when storms and flood waters swept through Y-City in Scott County May 31. Scott County Sheriff Cody Carpenter, 41, Vivian Reimer and Regina “Kay” Shearn, 60, also died after rising waters caused the home the two women were in to implode.
A three day search followed to recover all four people.
“Mission number one was to bring him home. We done that on Sunday. Number two is to give him the true hero send off. We done that today. Number three is to take care of his family and kids,” said Mike Knodel with the AG&FC.
Knodel has said time and again, Campora was the epitome of what a wildlife officer should be. Campora was also active in his church and dedicated his time to mentoring youth in his church community.
“They were just what we needed,” Brown said. “They were young, and they were freshly married, and they were in love, and they were huge followers of Christ. They changed all of our lives.”
Brown and her friend Samantha Ritchie say Campora and his wife Rebecca helped them strengthen their faith when the couple volunteered at Salem Baptist Church.
“If it wasn’t for them two, I wouldn’t have gone to Sunday school, or done as much stuff as I would’ve done in the church because they would come and get me every Sunday for Sunday school and stuff,” Ritchie said.
Campora leaves behind wife Rebecca and two young daughters. Memorial funds have been established at First National Bank, Community National Bank and Chambers Bank.
Hundreds of law enforcement officials, friends and family members filled Waldron High School’s football field on Wednesday to remember Sheriff Carpenter.
No word yet on when funeral services will be held for Reimer or Shearn. An official wit
h a local funeral home says he believes their services will be organized and held by relatives out of state.