BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Long before the service began people, started silently filing in, taking their seats, and looking at glimpses into the life of the husband and father of three. Outside, law enforcement agencies from Kern County and beyond gathered to greet fellow brothers and sisters in blue before moving inside to say a final farewell to one of their own.
A packed Mechanics Bank arena showed just how much of an impact the former Marine, California State University Bakersfield grad, and public servant had on communities around the state and country.
PHOTOS: Funeral Service for KCSO Deputy Phillip Campas
Those who knew the fallen deputy shared more about campus’s life and career before officers gave him a final salute.
“As I stand here today, I never thought I would have to speak at my little cousin’s funeral, it hurts,” said Ralph Lomas.
Lomas said Campas was not only his baby cousin but also his friend and July 25th was the worst day of his life.
“I’m gonna miss you, Phil, so much. I’m not gonna have my cousin there, my brother, my best friend, we’re all gonna miss you. We love you, rest in heaven cousin,” said Lomas
The honor guard escorted the casket into the arena and 9 speakers, from family, friends, to fellow comrades, including Sheriff Donny Youngblood spoke to thousands of attendees about his work in the Marine Corps, at the Kern County Sheriff’s Office, and even his volunteer work with the Devil Pups.
“This man did more in 35 years than most of us will ever do in a lifetime, and he did everything exceptionally well. He did it better than anybody else,” said Youngblood.
Youngblood also said Campas was the best of the best.
“In honor guard, you have to be extra special and then to be on the SWAT team. The SAT team is right down here. You have to be the best of the best, and I promise you every member of this SWAT team wishes they could be like Phil,” said Youngblood.
They also remembered how he was a father and family man and that no one could forget his dimples when he smiled.
“It's hard to get angry at Phillip when he’s smiling at you with that big ear to ear grin with those dimples,” said Dick Taylor former Marine and Campas' friend
KCSO SWAT sergeant and friend of Campas, Christian Melero, also added that Campas was always selfless.
“That’s the type of person that Phillip was, is putting others in front of him and checking on their well being. That’s exactly who he was, he did that every day,” said Melero.
Deputy Campas’ wife Christina did not speak but instead wrote a letter thanking the community for their ongoing support. Juan Trevino read Christina’s letter.
“To most of you, he was Phillip or Deputy Campus, but at home, he was my children’s daddy and my husband. There aren’t words to express how much I love this man and how proud I am of the man he was and the hero he will always be,” read Trevino.
The funeral ended with a final watch call.
As his wife Christina wrote, today was a clear indication that Campas’ legacy will live on forever.
A private procession to the national cemetery followed where the 35-year-old was laid to rest by family.
WATCH THE FULL FUNERAL SERVICE: