DANVILLE, Ohio (WCMH)–The community of Danville is mourning the loss of Officer Thomas Cottrell, who was found dead Sunday night outside the Danville Municipal Building. .
Powerful, positive stories are being told by residents in this small Knox County town that will cement Cottrell’s legacy.
Friend Heidi Mickley says, “It takes a big man to decide that is what they want to do for a living and be able to put that uniform on every day.”
Cottrell is gone but not forgotten in this small town of about 1,000 people. Many have already donated to a GoFundMe page for his family.
In his spare time, he was a Little League coach.
“He was great with the kids,” Mickley said. “He stepped up to coach a baseball team when we couldn’t get anyone else to coach. He loved it. He had a great time.”
Before last season, this patriot had an idea.
“Tom mentioned the flagpole would need a nice, new flag,” Mickley said. “I told him I would get one and before I even had a chance within a week, Tom had one and had it flying.”
Today, Mickley took her children back to that diamond to remember her friend, coach, and positive community role model.
Cottrell was also a father to a lucky few, but a protector for many.
Danville third grader Kadence Mickley says, “I felt very safe. I felt if something happened, I would go to him and he would solve it.”
More importantly, those who knew him said Officer Cottrell cared about this community.
Fellow first responder Douglas Lissley says, “That’s what we as public servants are supposed to do. We are supposed to serve our communities, serve our people, go out of our way.
Lissley says two of his children want to be police officers when they grow up. He credits Officer Cottrell’s positive influence for his kids’ future aspirations.
“I would have to think part of the reason they want to be a police officer is because of guys like him and just being around him and being around his kids,” he said.
A community is asking those deep questions no one can ever seem to answer and grieving over one of their men in blue being taken from them too soon.
“I like to think that good outweighs evil,” Mickley said. “And in this case, it didn’t. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter how good of a person he was and how innocent he was.”