Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Police Officer Daniel Matthew Starks

Fort Myers Police Department, Florida

End of Watch Saturday, October 25, 2003

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Reflections for Police Officer Daniel Matthew Starks

I'll Be There - The Escape Club

Over Mountains
Over Trees
Over Oceans
Over Seas
I'll be there
In a whisper on the wind
On the smile of a new friend
Just think of me
And I'll be there
Don't be afraid, oh my love
I'll be watching you from above
And I'd give all the world tonight,
To be with you
Because I'm on your side,
And I still care
I may have died,
But I've gone nowhere
Just think of me,
And I'll be there
On the edge of a waking dream
Over Rivers
Over Streams
Through Wind and Rain
I'll be there
Across the wide and open sky
Thousands of miles I'd fly
To be with you
I'll be there
Don't be afraid, oh my love
I'll be watching you from above
And I'd give all the world tonight,
To be with you
Because I'm on your side,
And I still care
I may have died,
But I've gone nowhere
Just think of me,
And I'll be there
In the breath of a wind that sighs
Oh, there's no need to cry
Just think of me,
And I'll be there

October 26, 2005

Dear Daniel,
Thank you for allowing me to meet your beautiful Jess and your wonderful family at the Candlelight Vigil the first year. They have been a true blessing to me. Although I did not know you in life, I feel as if I know you in Spirit; as you have shared the ones that you loved most with me. They continue to honor you everyday by reaching out to support police survivors' nationwide. They are unselfish, loving and kind. Everything that I am sure you were.
Please give them extra love and strength on today, your 2 year EOW marker.
Your Ultimate Sacrifice will never be forgotton in my heart.
Thank you Daniel.

Juli Verkler

October 25, 2005

My dearest pea pod, most precious, # 1 Fiancee Daniel Matthew Starks:

Umm ok, so i may have gotton carried away with that greetings, but there just arn't enough words to tell you how much i love you!!!! Two years have gone by and at this time two years ago, all hell was breaking loose for me. Sure it isn't as bad now but even today every day is a struggle. My mind slips back into time when you were here and things were better.Memories of you showing up at my door with ice cream and flowers after a stupid disagreement, memories of wrestling and tickle figroad trips, singing at church, you teaching me police codes, and just driving around just so we could be together. Those are the memories I will cherish forever. A year turns to two and before we know it it will turn 5 years, 10 years, etc. No matter how many years go by I will never ever forget the love that we shared, or the wonderful memories that made life with you so wonderful. You were such a bright light in all of our lives, and you will forver be in my heart.

I will never turn down a chance to honor your name or tell of your great life here on Earth. No matter how many days, months, or years pass by.

We will be remembering you all day, esp today and tonight at the candelight we are holding for you.

I Love you my precious fiancee. :)
I trust you are taking good care in Heaven - say hello to Cole, Bryan, and Matt..and take care of Jocelyn's father too.
I Love you forever and ever and then some....
Your "Jess"

Dan's Fiancee

October 25, 2005

dear dan,

please give all of your strength to jess and your family. two years today things were a completely different story. may they experience the peace of God that transcends ALL understanding here on earth and have joy that they will see you again someday. thank you for sharing your family with me.

GA jess

Jessi Garger
Cole Martin's fiancee

October 25, 2005

Officer Starks,
I recently came across your memorial and wanted to express my gratitude for your dedicated service, even if your time was tragically cut short. By reading previous reflections, it is obvious you are loved and missed each minute of each day. On your two year anniversary, I want to Thank You and honor you. Truly, one badge stands behind the rest. May your family and friends find comfort and peace, and may the wounds begin to heal with each passing day. From one police officer to another - Thank You and rest in peace.

Police Officer
Bay City, Michigan P.D.

October 25, 2005

Its like yesterday when we were all laughing and joking at one of the many delegates meetings when we were explorers. They say time heals wounds........... It does to some point. Our time on earth is truly in God's hands, No matter what we as humans do God has a plan for us. As we all laughed and joked through the years of being explorers we still all wanted to do a job that was truly unique. It was a job many of our peers at school did not look upon highly. But we all stood strong.

The day I got hired at my new agency was truly special. I got the call on the 1 year anniversary of your last watch. I was thinking of all the fun we had with our other friends at explorer functions. I was thinking of this because many of my friends have been on the road for a few years now. I was unable to accomplish this for a while due to an injury.

With God's help it was accomplished.

Everyday I talk to my parents on my way to work. I know they worry. But as my saying goes "He has a plan, Just smile and wave!"

My thoughts and prayers are with your family and friends.

God speed and Ill see you soon.

Ofc. William R. Peterson
Pinellas Park Police Department

October 25, 2005

my precious son

two years ago at this very moment you were so happy. on your own in your own patrol car. how i wish i had seen you that day. i only saw you once or twice in your uniform. i know how important your job was to you. i wish i hadnt gone to work that day. i would have had the whole morning with you. why didnt i call you. i know you are with me always and i will be seeing you very soon. i just cant help but miss you - as much now as two years ago. i love you so much.


October 24, 2005

"Sons are a heritage from the Lord...a reward from Him."
Psalm 127:3

Dearest Daniel,
Although we have not met you yet, we are loving you and holding your precious life and memory close in our hearts today. As you and our beloved son Matthew are enjoying the splendor of heaven and the reward of eternal life, we long for that day when God takes us from this world and reunites us with the treasures of our hearts.
God has been gracious to acquaint us with your family ( and your sweet Jess:). While we all have our own broken hearts we can share and help bear each others pain and loss by the shared blessing of having been given the gift of you, our precious sons, for which we will be forever grateful.
I pray we all feel a special closeness tomorrow from the son's of our lives... Daniel Matthew and Jesse Matthew.

Loving you both
Missing you both,

Linda Rittenhouse
Always and forever Matt's Mom

October 24, 2005

Dearest darling Daniel,
We still have 5 wonderful grandsons, Timothy in Michigan, Andrew, Todd and Benjamin in Florida and you, Daniel, in Heaven with our Lord and Saviour, Jesus.
We knew you loved Jesus even before Andrew said weshould hear you pray, that it was beautiful.
We still grieve for you every day. We watch our "Daniel's Garden" grow and blossom all summer. The birds and butterflies come and visit. The purple flowers are for you and in your memory, Daniel and the pink flowers are to honor your love for Jessica. We think of you each day and love and miss you more than we could ever express. We hold you and your family in our hearts always and look forward to the day we're all together again.

Love always in His name,

Grama and Grampa

Grama and Grampa

October 24, 2005

Hi Dan,
I can't believe it's been 2 years, sweetie. Not a day goes by that i don't think of you, your mom, dad, Andrew, Benj and the little girl. They're holding on with faith and each other's love, i know you're proud of them.

Funny, how the miles from MI to FL never seemed to matter when it came to our family's love, isn't it? I consider each memory of shared times a gift and blessing and believe me, i pull them out often for comfort as well as honor. Remember those darn cowboy boots? how bout helping Uncle Rick get "mckinley wood"? Remember Bob's and the secret passage in the closet? The time i gave all the brothers a ride on the back of Cola Bey, only to have you all slide off, one by one? Waterfall hunting, camping, leeches, jumping off the Au Train bridge, Milnichol Road.. i dare say it here....The Big Crapper? What troopers you all were to put up with such a dorky aunt. But, i couldn't have loved any of you more had you'd been my own boys. I think you knew that then and i am certain you know it now.

The last time i saw you, Daniel, was at Grama and Grampa's house in Ft Myers. You'd show up in your car a couple times a day to check up on us, looking so proud yet humble, so sincere and earnest. If ever a young man was meant to wear a uniform, it was you.

People who i don't know well here in MI don't always understand, i guess. Yes, i still cry sometimes, when i talk about you and they're amazed. After all, you were in FL, it's been 2 years and you were "just" a nephew. Bah, those people don't understand what true family ties are. I'm glad we do. I love you and miss you, Dan. Always will.
Aunt Bea

p.s. what color is the sky in heaven? and, thank you for those amazing lavender/purple sunsets.

Aunt Bea

October 24, 2005

please watch over jess and your family... they could really use their special angel right now! thank you so much for sending jess my way! ;P

ga jess

October 21, 2005

How thankful I am once again for the love and friendship of your beautiful, intelligent and caring Jess. I am thankful that you, Bryan and Cole are all hanging out, because it is the 3 of you that brought Jess Squared and myself together as friends'. You really can't explain that away. There were just too many coincidences :) Thank you Daniel! I am praying for Jess and your family as they prepare to endure the trial. You are greatly missed.
Thank you for yesterday. It meant a lot and I am so thankful for your friendship. Everything you said made great sense and I really needed to hear someone tell me those things. Love Ya!

Juli Verkler
Widow of Ptlm. Bryan S. Verkler EOW 12/13/03

October 19, 2005

my darling daniel

a million times we've needed you
a million times we've cried
if love alone could have saved you
you never would have died

if all the world was ours to give
we would give, yes, and more
to see you coming up the walk
to hear your voice, to see your smile
to sit and talk with you for awhile

to see you in the same old way
it would be our fondest day
a heart of gold stopped beating
two eyes closed to rest.

god broke our hearts to prove to us
he only takes the best.

i love you and miss you so much


October 18, 2005

Hey Dan, I know it's been a litt while. I think about you every single day and especially on the days that I work. I cant step into my car without seeing your face and hearing that special laugh that you had. I know that u are watching over me and keeping me safe. I know that u can see everything that I am doing out here and I know that u are proud. IWell I gotta go for now buddy, I will write u back soon.

Deputy Travis Daniels
Lee County Sheriff's Office

October 18, 2005

hello dan!

well i don't really know where to even begin this message... i am now back to my GA jess status :`(

i know that you and cole were close to jess and i this whole entire weekend. what a blessing it was to "visit" you, learn more about you, and finally meet your wonderful brothers. i cannot believe how close we have all come, and i can only believe that you and cole meant for us all to come together. i love your jess so very much, and she doesn't even realize how much of an inspiration she is to me and so many others. help her keep her head up, dan... she needs it even more around this time of year. your parents are fabulous, daniel, and i can't even explain how loved they have made me feel. i am sure you know how proud of you they are to this very day. your brothers are awesome, too... i think andrew looks just like you! ben was so sweet to come up and sit by me at church on sunday. and i KNOW above everything else, you and cole arranged for us to sing "hungry"... how amazing and breathtaking that was for me. thank you for the shooting stars you sent to jessica... it's wonderful to get all those "signs" along the way that remind us that you guys are with us always. i know Heaven must be glorious, and while it breaks our hearts to begin each day without our loves, jess and i know that we will see you boys again someday. until then, we have one another to lean on, laugh with, cry to, and share the memories. i am so blessed to have met your entire family and cannot wait until we can all get together again, maybe for a little longer!! ;P

take care of my angel and love you,


October 11, 2005

3 more days till i become a florida jess too for just a couple days!! i cannot wait to meet your brothers and wrap my arms around that wonderful jess of yours! i'm sure your and cole's ears will be burning as we will be talkin about you when we reunite as the "jess squared"!! haha! God didn't know what he was doin when he introduced us jess's!!

ga jess (for now)

October 4, 2005


My heart aches for you and I can't imagine the ache that your heart must feel for the longing to be with your dan. May God bless you and keep you more protected from whatever hurt could possibly come into your life. May He give you strength to continue to love and to know that this is not all there is. I cannot wait for you to be reunited with i cannot wait to see my brother once again. And when i say May God keep you...i mean it with every bit of my heart.

in loving memory of dan,

jessica rittenhouse-miller
'lil sis of officer matt rittenhouse
EOW 9-16-04

October 3, 2005

To Jessica and the family of Officer Daniel Starks:

I have never had the honor of meeting Daniel, but have come to learn about him through Jessica, his loving and devoted fianee. She so kindly and thoughtfully, left a tribute on the memorial site I am working on for my son Corey and daughter in-law Michelle, who were killed in an A/A on 8/17/2003 in Arizona, where Corey was stationed with the Air Force. Corey and Michelle were killed one day shy of their 3 month wedding anniversary.

I am so sorry that another parent has to know the pain of losing a child. I wish I had the words to take away your pain, but in the 25 months since losing Corey and Michelle, I have yet found any peace with losing them. Every day is a struggle but I do take comfort in the fact that each day that I get through brings me one day closer to seeing my son and daughter in-law again. I believe that our children are able to watch over us and would not want us to be sad, but it is so hard!
I am very sorry for your loss of Daniel. He is a true hero and gave his life protecting others. Your family will be in my prayers!

To Jessica,
Thank you so much for not only taking the time to view Corey and Michelle's first memorial site at but also for having the thoughtfulness of leaving such a kind and beautiful tribute. It always means so much to visit their memorial sites and see that someone has come to "visit" them and have taken the added time to let our family know by leaving a tribute. I am truly very sorry that you and Daniel never had the chance to fulfill your dreams together. I admire your continued devotion and love for him. I have read several of your reflections and my heart breaks for you. Through your words I can feel the deepness of your love for him. I believe that Daniel can still feel your love and is with you during your most difficult moments. That is when I find little signs from my son, during my most difficult moments. I firmly believe they are around us. I know it's not the same as seeing them physically, but they let us know in their own way that they are still with us. We will carry their memories and our love for them in our hearts until the day comes when we are able to join them in paradise. Daniel will be there with open arms and you will be together again and this time, nothing will separate the two of you again, just as Corey and Michelle are together forever. Love does not die, love is eternal!
Thank you again Jessica, not only for coming to learn of my son and his wife, but also for sharing your Daniel with me. I stare at his handsome face as I type this and I will always remember him and you. You are in my prayers. Please feel free to write me anytime! If I can help in any way, I am a good listener.

Donna-Corey's Mom
In Loving Memory of Corey and Michelle James

Donna-Corey's Mom

October 2, 2005

My Dearest Daniel -
I have been thinking of you all day today. You are on my mind everyday but especially today. I do not know why. Maybe because it is October 1st and in just a couple weeks we will be to your 2nd anniversary of you being gone from us. I know you have helped me these past few weeks - I have had to get through alot of things. Thank You for the strength and courage. I am amazed at the strength you have given me through your spirit.

I ran our old "oute" the other day. Remember? The one through my subdivision and then the road that cuts through. I haven't ran it in ages. I think I ran it a couple days after you died - but just haven't had the strength to run it since. It felt good afterwards but sad too. I finally felt like I accomplished something that was very hard for me to do. You always kept me going when I wanted to stop and showed me how to run and breathe properly so I wouldn't hurt my muscles. All I can remember is I wanted to loose weight for the wedding..and you were always there to cheer me along. :) Your humor was the best part. I was such a baby..remember me bargining you with.."I'll run to the mailbox just ahead and then stop ok?" :) haha.

Today I ran half the route because it was POURING rain outside! I didn't care though. I just ran and I figured maybe you were just letting me know you were along. :) It got to the point where the rain mixed with my tears so it didn't matter anyways! :(

I miss you so very much. So very much it hurts everyday. Your parents are at the parents retreat in MO and I am sure they are having a good time. As for me, the days are passing along. I cannot wait until I see you again - I miss you so much. I really miss being able to see you and just being able to see you walk through the door was so nice. I miss talking to you. It is sad now. Things will never be the same will they? I guess I have tried to make the life I am left to walk comfortable..I am trying. Sometimes the days are so overwhelming. I always know you are with me though - and it gives me peace of mind and to know that even though you are not with me in human form; you are with me in spirit. You are with the Lord and I am sure He is taking good care of you.
I hope you are having a magical time in Heaven. They say that in Heaven time passes very quickly - I bet you are helping alot of people along..and are not even realizing how long it has been that you have been gone. As for the rest of us, we are approaching your two year anniversary. I am determined to remember the good times I spent with you. All the funny memories, and how you touched my life like no one else ever has. You are truly a treasure. I can just remember seeing you at that concert where we met. I can still see you walking by and waving..with that grin on your face, and that walk that was "the dan walk". Little did I know the impact you would have on my life. I am so glad that I got to spend the last year and half of your life with you. All the exciting things - that you got to do and I was so privledged that night to accept my engagement ring. I will never forget you being so sneaky! You didn't want me to have a clue what you were up too (and I didn't!). My life changed that night - regardless as to what happened later. I will never forget how excited I was. I hope to one day see you in Heaven and have that excitement again. I have a feeling it is a once in a lifetime experience.

I love you with all my heart and soul forever and ever!!
- Jess

Dan's Fiancee

October 1, 2005

Hey Dan,
I have been thinking about you alot lately. I never really got to pay my respects to your family, I found out you were gone and I couldn't get back to Florida. I want you to know how proud I am of you for fulfilling your dream of becoming a police officer. You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers everyday. I know you are brightening people's lives in heaven as you did here on Earth.

Lisa Millett (Loeffel)

September 29, 2005


Just wanted to drop you alittle note saying hi and that I know you are watching over all of us every time we go 10-8.

Dep. Kevin Martin
St.Clair County Sheriff Department

September 28, 2005

hey dan,
this is georgia jess reporting in once more... i heard a song for the first time and while it's emotional and a tearjerker, thought your jess might enjoy it.


kenny chesney's "who you'd be today"

Sunny days seem to hurt the most
Wear the pain like a heavy coat
I feel you everywhere I go
See your smile, I see your face
I hear you laughing in the rain
Still can't believe your gone

It ain't fair you died to young
Like a story that had just begun
But death tore the pages all away
God knows how I miss you
All the hell that I've been through
Just knowing, no one could take your place
Sometimes I wonder, who you'd be today

Would you see the world
Would you chase your dreams
Settle down with a family
I wonder what would you name your babies
Someday's the sky's so blue
I feel like I can talk to you
And I know it might sound crazy


September 27, 2005

i am coming down to "visit you" soon!! until then, please please take care of my florida jess and the florida parents!!! please tell cole hello!! (i'd ask you to give him a hug, but i know that would break some kind of manly code! ;P)

ga jess

September 27, 2005

Hey Dan,

Just wanted to say Hi. I try to visit you when I can, but find it hard to drive in there. I see your mom most mornings and your dad on my way home. I see your "311" sticker on FMPD cars all the time. You should see the addition we are putting on here at the station. I know you will watch over it and all of us here. Keep up the good work up there. Miss you buddy.

Ed Cornish
Bayshore Fire Rescue

September 18, 2005


I wanted to stop here and leave a reflection and thank Jessica for visiting my son's page and leaving a thoughful message. All that come here and have lost an officer know the broken heart feeling, lost dreams and day to day struggle to go on without you. The families attend ceremonies and have to relive the tragic event over and over and are given medals and plaques. We do in to keep your memory alive. The holidays spent without you are the hardest to get through. Sure, being a cop you probably were at work anyway and missed most of the holidays, but now it is different because we know you won't be popping in through the door later after your shift or the next day to have your holiday. I know you loved being a police officer and if its any solace, you lost your life living a live long dream, being a cop. Daniel, you will never be forgotten and you will always be a true hero. Watch over your family and loved ones, try and ease their pain. Look up my son Mike, he is a terrific story teller and will keep you laughing just as he did with his co workers here. God be with you.

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

Bob Gordon

September 16, 2005

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