Officers marched in the pouring rain from the funeral home to the church.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — "All units, Lt. Winston is 10-7. Thank you lieutenant for 23 years of service to your community."
That was the broadcast over local police radios Friday morning. Pittsfield Policed Lt. Michael Winston died unexpectedly while on vacation in Fort Myers, Fla., last Friday and this Friday, officers from multiple departments marched in a downpour, escorting the Special Response Team vehicle carrying his casket to St. Charles' Church for his funeral.
Winston was 55 years old and had served in the Police Department since 1994. He became a sergeant in 2000 and lieutenant in 2002. He was the commander of the Berkshire County Special Response Team.
The highly decorated officer received numerous honors including the Terry Donnelly Police Officer of the Year in 1998 and received an Honorable Service Unit Citation for supporting the U.S. Secret Service when First Lady Michelle Obama visited the city in 2013.
Winston was not only highly respected within the department, but in the community as well. Every year he'd go to a city school to read to children on Read Across America Day. He coached Little League from 1999 until 2009 before moving on to coach Babe Ruth League baseball. In 2012, he coached the city's team to the Babe Ruth World Series in Arkansas.
An athlete himself, he was inducted into the Berkshire County Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014.
At home he was known for dedication to his family. The Lanesborough resident seldom missed races, games, or recitals his children were participating in. He spent a lot of time on his pontoon boat with family and friends.
Winston's death came a shock to the city and the Police Department made a strong showing of support. North Street was closed from Dwyer Funeral Home to Pontoosuc Avenue for the procession to the funeral.
Prior to arriving back in Pittsfield, Fort Myers, Fla., police there stood vigil and escorted Winston's casket to the airport. Members of the Connecticut State Police waited at Bradley International Airport to escort it back to Massachusetts.
Back home, local police departments continued the escort and numerous members of the Fire Department and emergency medical technicians were on hand to honor Winston. The Fire Department hung a large American flag from its ladder truck on Pontoosuc Avenue for the procession to march under on its way to the church.