Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Police Officer Daniel Matthew Starks

Fort Myers Police Department, Florida

End of Watch Saturday, October 25, 2003

Leave a Reflection

Reflections for Police Officer Daniel Matthew Starks

Dear Daniel,

We are thinking of you and your family and knowing how hard it is to not have you here. The picture they sent is beautiful, just not complete without you in it. We all wish we were together with you and Matthew. Soon, we hope and pray.

Watch for us. Merry Christmas in Heaven.

Matt's Mom
Linda Rittenhouse

December 24, 2005



December 23, 2005

I just wanted to say hello and THANKS again for serving and protecting your community.You are a HERO, and you will never be forgotten.I have heard so many wonderful things about you from Jessica. I know without even meeting you that you were and are an incredible person.I have no doubt that you, Cole, and Terry are hanging out together in Paradise. I also want to say thanks for helping us to contact each other. Your Jess is such a strong, amazing woman. I can see why you LOVE her so much. Please send Jess and your family some extra love and peace during this holiday season. As you are well aware it is even tougher at this time of year. I look forward to meeting you someday.
Thanks again,
Lynn Harwell, Fiancee'
Det.Terry Melancon E.O.W 8-10-05

December 19, 2005

Daniel, I remember this incident. I remember thinking what a terrible tradgedy for such a young officer. I think of the lost potential and the relatives & family of officers left behind. As another holiday season comes and goes I think of the hurt felt by those who loved you and how their holiday and everyday will never be the same again. Thank you for your service and thank your loved one's who carry the burden of your absence.

Jerry Baker
Survivor F01

December 19, 2005

Hi my darling,

It's late and Im just crusing the odmp sites and reading various officer's pages. I guess I can't sleep. It's so sad that many young officers have died, just like a car accident while pursuing someone. You boys always had to get em' all didn't ya?
You always had the best attitude about going to work. Always.

Thank you so much for helping me through my first two weeks of my new job. I am really loving it. Really. It would be perfect, if only you were here. I am really starting to learn alot and instead of coming home and asking your opinion, and telling you stuff -- I come home to an empty house. It's sad, but I know you are looking down on me. Sometimes it isn't enough though -- and sometimes it just isn't fair. My eyes have truly been opened -- and yeah it could be worse..but the road I have been forced to walk is tough enough, and the pain that burns inside my heart is so painful. I have your picture on the front of my day planner and see it everyday. People ask about it..and I tell them the truth. I tell them that the picture is of my fiancee whom I still love very deeply. I tell them how you died, but how you still live today. Sometimes I want to cry so bad because I shouldn't have to be explaining your life. Instead I should be having your children, working hard, and we should be loving life together.

I have met many other people who's dreams were taken away -- along with mine. I have no answers, I have nothing to say that makes anything any easier or better. All I have are memories -- some days they are all I seem to have left.

I know you are providing for me..even amongst my daily struggles. I thank you for that. I love you for that. I will never stop turning my eyes to the sky and looking for you -- a sign that you are still here. Some days it's shooting stars, some days it's sunsets, and some days its just the peace I feel that you are near and with me; when everything else is spinning out of control.

I Love You always and forver my baby.
Hugs and Kisses from me to you -


December 16, 2005

Dear Jessica,
Just wanted you to know that I am thinking about you & Daniel's family this Holiday Season. You all are in my prayers.

Much love,
*S/O Deputy Sheriff Joshua Blyler (EOW: 5.2.04)

Kelly Gillain

December 13, 2005

hi sweetheart

we went to bayshore tonight. mark invited us. it was so nice of him to remember. he was awarded firefighter of the year - yes - he finally passed his firefighter one. he is so proud. he just put up the flag pole out front - 46 bags of concrete all by hand. he asked jessica in front of everyone - if it was okay with her if he moved your plaque from the tree to the flagpole. it has a light and he is going to brick all around it. the chief introduced us and everyone stood. you really were well loved there and remembered.
christmas is coming and it will never be the same. i take comfort in knowing you are where we all want to be. enjoy christmas with jesus. we love you as much now as ever and still miss you so terribly. watch over us my darling son.

always in my heart

December 10, 2005

Hey Dan. I have been thinkin alot about u lately. I have had a couple of close calls at work, and I know that U have been there wathching over me and protecting me. I know that thinking of u has given me strength in alot of situations knowing that u and I would have done the same thing. I miss u man. Well I guess Ill talk to u later.

Deputy Travis Daniels
Lee County Sheriff's Office

December 9, 2005

Thanks so much for leaving a reflection on Terry's memorial. I really appreciate hearing from both you and Jessi. This has been and will be the most devestating experience of my life, and others just don't seem to get it. I guess they could not understand unless they were in our situatiion. We had our soulmates and they were tragically ripped away with no warnings.
You and Jessi are confirming what I already knew about losing Terry. The love NEVER ends, the thoughts NEVER stop, and it NEVER get easier.
I am so sorry that you had to lose the love of your life at such a young age as well. I am definitely seeing truth to the saying God ALWAYS takes the great ones way too soon. Daniel is a true hero, and he sounds like a wonderful man. Paradise is filled with way too many of our awesome young Heroes. I will be thinking of and praying for you and Daniel's family.
I have confidence that Daniel, Cole, and Terry are having lots of conversations about us. They are probably living it up, and saying we will see our girls again in just a little while. I am sure they are sharing lots of cop stories as well. Serving and Protecting was their duty and they loved it. I'll talk to you soon.
Thanks again,
Lynn Harwell
Fiancee' of Det. Terry Melancon
BRPD E.O.W 8-10-05

December 8, 2005


I hope you are having a great time with all the guys preparing for the day God sends his gift into the world. Send your Jess, and all your family big hugs, and lots of love as they prepare for another Christmas without you.

Thinking of you. Miss hearing from you.
Dan you have a remarkable girl in her. She's tried her hardest to help so many. You would be very proud of her.

Much Love,
Many Hugs,
Fiancee Scott Stewart EOW 8-11-02 Detroit


December 8, 2005

Jess.. May God be with you this holiday season. May He watch over you and your family and Daniel's family as well. I'm sorry you love the man you loved. I could never articulate exactly how reading your words makes me feel. I think of women just like yourself everytime my fiancee puts on his uniform. God is with you and Daniel is always watching over you. I know it's not easy, but I hope God helps you continue to keep Daniel's spirit alive and leads you to much happiness.

LEO fiancee and friend of Peter Grignon EOW 3/23/05

LEO fiancee
LMPD, Kentucky

December 7, 2005

Hi Honey --

Well my first day at my new job went well. YOU were with me I know. Thanks for the 311 sighting as I was leaving in my car. I am always amazed at how much you encourage me -- through your spirit. Finshed most of my Christmas shopping already. I decided to start early and beat the crowds this year. As I was driving home from the mall I was remembering our last Christmas together. Remember when me, you, and my mom drove over to the other coast to christmas shop? That was such a good time. You were such a good sport amongst me and mom "ohhing" and "ahhing" at everything at the candle shop! What I wouldn't give to do that all over again. Who would have thought that we would never go back there again together -- like we had always said we would....

I got home tonight and noticed a really bright star in the sky. Me and your mom are condvinced that the first bright star we see in the sky is from you. I kept looking up and seeing it and it was like it was following me. It was the only REALLY bright one out there and although I was feeling sad, I had to smile because I know you are still with us. I don't know why I need stars to remind me that you are still here -- I know you follow me around and watch over all of us. :) The only thing that comforts me is knowing you are with our Lord and are happy.

I love you more than words could ever express. Thanks for helping me with my new job and helping me not worry so much about things. Please help us all through the holiday's. We know the meaning of Christmas is Christ's birthday, but it is painful sometimes.

Keep watch over your mom -- she needs you.

I love you so,

Dan's Fiancee

December 2, 2005

In His Honor: Officer Daniel Starks #311

At attention
Demands direct
As we are taught
To show respect

We make our choice
To abide by law
Leaves us in awe

Our filthy streets
Are filled with grime
Being influenced
Greatly by crime

Soldiers are killed
To protect innocent people
Like you and me

All that are gone
Like Officer Starks
Are not forgotten
And kept at heart

As we the youth
Attempt to define
The world, its future
And stay in line

We will not cease
To have justice served
And punish appropriately
Those who deserve

For as we salute
In discipline
This battle is no longer
Just ours to win

For the family of Officer Daniel Starks #311
Written By: Silver Platoon Member Austin Pierce
Fort Myers Police Department Respect For Law Camp 2004

November 28, 2005

daniel -

you are the love of my life.

on this Thanksgiving eve..i am saddened to have to spend another one without you. but i am thankful that i got to spend at least one with you while you were alive.

i cry as i feel so alone, and i pray for God to guide me in the right direction. the road seems so unclear sometimes. i pray for the strength to move on and strength to start a new chapter in my life. i will always hold you close to my heart, and i know you will always be with me. it is still so hard though.

i love you so much daniel

- jess

Dan's Sweetheart

November 23, 2005

For Dan's Mom, Kathe

I know your daily emptiness that you feel each morning when you wake. For parents to lose a child, the pain is forever as a part of you has died. Others go on with their lives and wonder how long we will grieve, they just don't know or get it as they have not walked in our shoes. The following poem I found in a Bereaved Parents Brochure and believe this may be what our feelings are:

We Do Not Need A Special Day

I do not need a special day
To bring you to my mind.
The days I do not think of you
Are very hard to find.

Each morning when I awake
I know that you are gone.
And no one knows the heartache
As I try to carry on.

My heart still aches with sadness
And secret tears still flow.
What it meant to lose you
No one will ever know

My thoughts are always with you,
Your place no one can fill.
In life I love you dearly,
In death I love you still.

There will always be a heartache,
And often a silent tear,
But always a precious memory
Of the days when you were here

If tears could make a staricase
And heartaches make a lane,
I'd walk the path to Heaven
And bring you home again.

I hold you close within my heart,
And there you will remain,
To walk with me throughout life,
Until we meet again.

(Author Unknown)

Bob Gordon, father of Officer
Michael P. Gordon, EOW: 8/8/04

Bob Gordon

November 21, 2005

my son

tomorrow is my birthday - how i wish that you were here to share it with me. each day continues to pass, the sun shines and people continue to go about their daily lives. it seems so strange to me when nothing is the same. please continue to watch over your girl. she starts a new job soon and its one i think you would like - of course you would - you chose it. hold your brothers close.
i love you so


November 20, 2005

Daniel, I decorated the outside of my home with blue lights. One of those blue lights is out there in your honor and will be lit every night from now until after New Years. It is my way of saying to you than you are being remembered and will never be forgotten. You finally reached your lifes dream of being a police officer and had it taken away from you after only a short time. People may ask, what kind of man or police officer you would have become, my answer to them is that you already were that man and officer. While you are on patrol, please tell my son Mike I love and miss him.

Bob Gordon, father of fallen officer Mihcael P. Gordon, EOW: 8/8/04

Bob Gordon

November 20, 2005

daniel -

please keep us safe as we travel to see gramma and grandpa and aunt bea in daytona.

i love you my angel,
- jess

November 12, 2005

I know that you are looking down at Jess and you are SO proud of her. What magnificent strides she has made in the 2 years since you've been gone. She has grown so much in the last year and has travelled through her grief, not around it. Thank you Daniel for watching over her every step of the way, and I know you will give her the strength to succeed in her new job.

Juli Verkler
Surviving Spouse of Ptlm. Bryan S. Verkler EOW12/13/03

November 8, 2005

dear dan,
i wanted to let you, jess, and the florida fam know that i was thinking of all of you today. on my way to the elementary school, i passed a place called "daniel's" and at the exact same time i heard leann rimes' "probably wouldn't be this way" on the radio. i know that you and cole are watchin out for all of us down here, but it's still such a challenge each day to live without you guys. please continue to wrap your angel wings around those who love you. as the holidays get closer and closer, they will need your love and strength even more. send them memories that will bring a smile rather than a tear.

till we meet in Heaven,
GA jess

November 1, 2005

daniel darling -

i love you so much.
i miss you every minute of every day.
i always will.
i have not forgotton and never will.
please help me make it through this week.
i love you so very much sweetheart.
- jess

Dan's Fiancee

October 31, 2005

To Where You Are
Music: Richard Marx
Lyrics: Linda Thompson

Who can say for certain
Maybe you're still here
I feel you all around me
Your memories so clear

Deep in the stillness
I can hear you speak
You're still an inspiration
Can it be
That you are mine
Forever love
And you are watching over me from up above

Fly me up to where you are
Beyond the distant star
I wish upon tonight
To see you smile
If only for awhile to know you're there
A breath away's not far
To where you are

Are you gently sleeping
Here inside my dream
And isn't faith believing
All power can't be seen

As my heart holds you
Just one beat away
I cherish all you gave me everyday
'Cause you are mine
Forever love
Watching me from up above

And I believe
That angels breathe
And that love will live on and never leave

Fly me up
To where you are
Beyond the distant star
I wish upon tonight
To see you smile
If only for awhile
To know you're there
A breath away's not far
To where you are

I know you're there
A breath away's not far
To where you are

October 29, 2005


Seems just like yesterday that we all stopped at the Pioneer on our way to River Ranch, I still can't believe that it's been 2 years since you were chosen to do a much more important job. We just got back power today, Wilma hit our area pretty hard, but I'm sure that you and dad had a hand in it not doing major damage to our house, and keeping us safe!

We miss you, and not a day goes by that Jared doesn't say "one time me and Dan..." Until we all meet again, keep everyone safe, and smiling (I'm sure that it won't be a problem for you.) But until then, Jared and I look forward to seeing your goofy smile and hearing you quote Roy D. Mercer!

Jared & Tiffany Hunt

October 27, 2005

When I Get Where Im Going
(Brad Paisley)

When I get where I'm going
On the far side of the sky
The first thing that I'm gonna do
Is spread my wings and fly

I'm gonna land beside a lion
And run my fingers through his mane
Or I might find out what it's like
To ride a drop of rain

Yeah when I get where I'm going
There'll be only happy tears
I will shed the sins and struggles
I have carried all these years
And I'll leave my heart wide open
I will love and have no fear
Yeah when I get where I'm going
Don't cry for me down here

I'm gonna walk with my grand daddy
And he'll match me step for step
And I'll tell him how I missed him
Every minute since he left
Then I'll hug his neck

[Repeat chorus]

So much pain and so much darkness
In this world we stumble through
All these questions I can't answer
So much work to do

But when I get where I'm going
And I see my maker's face
I'll stand forever in the light
Of his amazing grace
Yeah when I get where I'm going
There'll be only happy tears
I will love and have no fear
When I get where I'm going

October 27, 2005

To Officer Daniel Starks, his family, friends and loved ones, and his fellow officers:

On this the second anniversary of your tragic death, please know that your valor and bravery are remembered.
Your reflections show that many people love you and miss you.

This reflection is sent with the utmost respect for the many years of distinquished service to your community and the citizens of Florida, and the supreme sacrifice you and your family made on October 25, 2003.

Phyllis Loya, mother of fallen officer
Larry Lasater, Pittsburg PD, eow 4/24/05

October 26, 2005

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