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Papillion community comes together to remember Lieutenant Ray Higgins

'He was always the first person to jump in and help'
Posted at 6:24 PM, Jul 11, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-11 19:24:42-04

PAPILLION, Neb. (KMTV) — Silence fell over the crowd of people who gathered in honor of Lieutenant Ray Higgins as the procession began.

Following his memorial, which was held at Saint Paul's United Methodist Church, some simply came to support their community while others knew Higgins as a co-worker, friend or neighbor.

"Just a kind, very supportive man who, we're very grateful for his service," said Papillion La Vista Community Schools teacher, Jeff Spiller.

"He was always really sweet, giant teddy bear. He was just, he was the greatest," said Christine Danderand whose husband worked with Higgins.

For more than 34 years, Higgins served the police department and the City of Papillion. Beyond his police work, he was involved in the community in other ways.

"He was a great supporter of the schools whether it be through being a bus driver or in the field of law enforcement," said Spiller.

Higgins served his community as a volunteer firefighter, a small business owner and an event planner. But no matter what he was doing, people say he was always there to help.

"He was always the first person to jump in and help. He was a great person and the community will miss him very much," said Shelley Schmitz whose husband also worked with Higgins.

"We just, we love their family and our thoughts are with them," said Danderand.

When asked why they were there, one community member named Jim Thomas said that the people of Papillion really care about their community and those in it.

"I know it's growing and growing and growing, but we still appreciate all the people who have dedicated their time and lives to making this a great place to work, raise a family, that sort of thing and he was a part of that," said Thomas.

Higgins was also known as a loving family man and is survived by his wife, two children and a grandson according to his obituary.

He was laid to rest at Cedardale Cemetery.

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