By Associated Press - Tuesday, August 11, 2015

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. (AP) - Thousands of people joined representatives from dozens of law enforcement agencies Tuesday at a memorial for a Washington State Trooper who died while on duty

Brent L. Hanger, 47, died Aug. 6 from a medical emergency while investigating a marijuana grow operation near Yakima. He had complained of chest pains and shortness of breath.

The Skagit Valley Herald reports ( ) mourners crowded a service at Dave DuVall Pavilion at Skagit Valley College. State Patrol Chief John Batiste said the agency was “stronger and much better for having” Hanger.

Hanger was hired by the state patrol in 1998 and spent his entire career based in Whatcom County, but also worked in Skagit, Island and Snohomish counties.

He received an award of merit for helping to save the life of a suicidal person in 2000.

“We believe all troopers are special,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “But we have to say, this trooper was extraordinary.”

Batiste told Hanger’s mother she “raised a great human being who turned out to be a great trooper.”

Batiste spoke about a report in Hanger’s personnel file. A woman and her two children had been involved in a car accident. When Hanger arrived on the scene, Batiste said he handed out teddy bears to the children.

“That’s the kind of person he was,” Batiste said.

Hangar is survived by his wife and six children.

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