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Victorino receives hero's welcome home

by KEITH KINNAIRD
Hagadone News Network | December 11, 2020 1:00 AM

PONDERAY — Dozens of law enforcement vehicles made up a procession Thursday to carry Ponderay Police Sgt. Mike Victorino to his final resting place.

The procession began in Sagle and made its way across the U.S. 95 Long Bridge with lights flashing before snaking its way through Sandpoint and up to Ponderay City Hall and ultimately the Bonner County Sheriff's Office.

Law officers from Idaho and surrounding states took part in the procession, as did firefighters from around Bonner County. The procession was headed by four of Ponderay's sport utility patrol vehicles.

Victorino, 56, was critically injured in an off-duty motorcycle crash on U.S. Highway 12 near Lewiston on Aug. 15. State police said Victorino was ejected from his Harley-Davidson in the collision.

Victorino suffered a head injury and had been making progress in his recovery after being released from a hospital, but things took a turn for the worse and he passed away at a Coeur d'Alene hospice facility on Nov. 25.

A dozen well-wishers lined Schweitzer Cutoff Road to honor Victorino. Another 10-20 people gathered on Highway 200 in front of the Elk's Golf Course to show their respect to the fallen lawman, who notched more than 18 years of service before he was injured.

Lore Steiner, one of the well-wishers gathered at the Elks, said she knew Victorino well from her work at Yoke's Fresh Market.

“We used to have lunch together at the deli quite often,” she said. “He was always fun and cheerful and always willing to help people.”

Gina Gregory, who also works at Yoke's, and her husband, Paul Gregory, also used to have lunch with Victorino, they said.

"He was a great person to talk to," Paul said.

The public is invited to a Celebration of Life for Mike on Saturday, Dec. 19. It starts at 2 p.m. at the Bonner County Fairgrounds. The family asks that no gifts or flowers be brought to the event and is requesting that donations be directed to the Bonner County Chaplain's Office, 4001 N. Boyer Ave., Sandpoint, ID. 83864.

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Staff writer Rachel Sun and Managing Editor Caroline Lobsinger contributed to this report.

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Photo by RACHEL SUN

Lore Steiner (left) stands with a small crowd by the roadside watching the procession of first responder vehicles Thursday afternoon on Highway 200.

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Photo by RACHEL SUN

A group gathers to wave American flags in support as a procession of emergency responders passes by on Highway 200 Thursday afternoon in front of the Elks Golf Course.

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Photo by RACHEL SUN

Seven-year-old Brandon Chapman stands next to Highway 200 with his mother, Cayla Magana, watching the procession of first responders. Magana said she did not know Victorino personally, but her mom did. “I wanted to teach my boy,” she said.

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Photo by RACHEL SUN

Darren Thompson salutes first responders as they pass by Thursday afternoon on Highway 200. “I didn’t know [Victorino] personally, but I wanted to support them," he said.

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Photo by RACHEL SUN

A crowd of supporters waves American flags as a procession of police and other first responders passes by on Highway 200 next to Elks Golf Course.

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First responders Victorino procession