Trooper George Baker honored with public procession, private memorial service
HAMMOND, La. (WAFB) - Louisiana State Police Trooper George Baker was laid to rest Thursday, May 28 after a private memorial service in Hammond.
The private service was held at 10:30 a.m. at the University Center at Southeastern Louisiana University (SLU).
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It was an amazing show of love and respect for fallen LSP Trooper George Baker not only by his law enforcement family, but by firefighters and his marine brothers from when he served.
“I met George in 2007 during our deployment to Iraq,” said Marine Gunnery Sgt. Scott Vankeuren.
“George Baker and I were in the same weapons company based out of Baton Rouge,” said Marine Cpl. Eric Johnson.
The Marine Corps’ Weapons Company, specifically the third platoon, all served together in Iraq in 2007. Baker served in the U.S. Marines for a total of eight years.
“As soon as I heard what happened to George, I told my wife, ‘Get ready. As soon as we get the final date and know where we have to be, we are driving’,” said Johnson.
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Johnson drove through the night from Washington D.C. to make it a point to be in Hammond, Thursday, May 28, for Baker’s funeral services. Because it was a private service however, the group gathered around a cell phone and speakers to listen to the live feed of Baker’s funeral services as a Marine family.
“There’s more than 30 of us who have gathered from across the country who knew George well, served with him and we’re here to honor his memory and to stand together and support each other,” Johnson said.
“We have guys coming in from Texas that served with him and we haven’t seen each other since we got back probably since 2008,” said Vankeuren.
Vankeuren held back tears for his fallen brother who was the radio operator for the platoon in Iraq.
“He was just one of the nicest guys, I just cannot say enough good about him,” said Vankeuren.
The proof of that would be lined down highway 51 in Hammond with complete strangers, but all wanting to pay their respects.
With flags in hand, many looked on as hundreds of motorcycles from several law enforcement agencies led the procession, followed by Baker’s hearse.
His marine family stood together reflecting on the life of service Baker not only lived by, but even died by.
“It was very sad, but then there’s also a lot of pride that he died in the line of duty and that’s what Marines do, Johnson said, "We go towards it and even as a trooper, he was there in the danger and even beyond that, the grave, he was helping others by donating his organs. I’m outstandingly proud of who he was as a human and proud to know him.”
The 33-year-old was a husband, father, son and brother who exemplified service having served in the Marines, Greensburg Police Department, St. Helena Sheriff’s Office and his last stop would be the Louisiana State Police.
On May 20, Trooper Baker responded to a call to assist Hammond Police Department, but he was hit by a car. His death marked the first LSP trooper killed in the line of duty since 2015. Baker’s last deed of service was donating his organs to save other lives.
“Marines have a saying that Marines guard the streets of heaven and I’m sure he is reporting for duty with a smile ready to go,” said Johnson. “Louisiana lost a great son today. The Marine Corps lost a great Marine and we lost a great friend.”
The procession went from Hammond, turned off at Albany and ended in Independence where the family held a private burial.
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