Before the casket draped with an American flag was placed on the back of a Lanoka Harbor fire truck to be transported to its resting place, bagpipes sounded to “Amazing Grace.” An emergency scanner went off with a member of the Ocean County Sherriff’s Department speaking in honor of Daniel Inglis Jr.
“You will be sorely missed but not forgotten. Rest in peace Daniel,” the scanner said.
Inglis, 25, of Lanoka Harbor — a police officer with the Union City Police Department and a volunteer with the Lanoka Harbor Fire Department — died on Monday, a year and six days after he suffered paralyzing injuries due to a motor vehicle accident.
Inglis was transported by fire truck to the Lanoka Harbor Fire Department where a fireman’s funeral service was held. He arrived with emergency sirens blasting, motorcycle engines revving and the salute of more than 75 members of police departments and emergency services from across the state.
The folk song “Danny Boy” was sung:
Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen, and down the mountain side
The summer’s gone, and all the roses falling
‘Tis you, ‘tis you must go and I must bide.
The Rev. John Negrotto, interim rector at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Red Bank, told the crowd of more than 100 to “keep the faith” as Inglis had.
Capt. Jerry Pepin of the Lanoka Harbor Fire Department described Inglis as a “dedicated public servant” and a “friend to all.”
“Courage, valor, bravery, duty. Those are words that we use. Those are words that we live by,” Pepin said. “In my 37 years as a public safety officer, I’ve never seen such valor as I’ve seen in the last year.”
Inglis endured, “fought for life” and showed “uncommon valor,” he said.
“I confess, I do not have that strength but Daniel had that strength. Daniel’s family had that strength,” Pepin said.
Inglis touched everyone, Lt. Nicky Lester of the Union City Police Department said. She described him as firm, kind, compassionate, proactive, loyal, fierce, determined, pigheaded, stubborn, hardworking, energetic, charismatic and determined.
“To say that Danny was outgoing is an understatement… He was infectious,” she said. “Just the miracle of him making it to Christmas speaks volumes of his character.”
When Inglis first came to the police department more than two years ago, they didn’t know what to expect of the “skinny, small, white boy from Lanoka Harbor,” she said. Inglis was part of a pilot program as one of the first special officers hired in Union City in a long time.
“We didn’t know how well he’d integrate but it was seamless,” she said. “He did very well for us… If he was ever called to service, he was there whether he had to run, bike or had the luxury of being in a car, he was there.”
The Union City Police Department will remember Inglis with pride, she said.
“Today is not goodbye, it’s see you later,” Inglis’s sisters Jessica and Rachel-Lynn said as they each read letters and poems written to their brother.
“I love you to the moon and back,” Jessica Inglis said. “I miss you more than I could ever have imagined I would. Twenty-five years was not enough but eternity with you when we meet again is what I am going to look forward to in my lifetime ahead.”
Devon Huhn Brady and Rebecca Etzel, Jessica Inglis’s best friends, grew up with Inglis, who they described as “full of life.”
“He was always helping someone, always fun,” Brady said.
“His smile could completely change everything. He would bring happiness,” Etzel said. “He made you feel like you were part of the family.”
Inglis was the “greatest friend,” said Abe Montalvo, South Jersey president of Insane Riders, a motorcycle club that Inglis belonged to.
But he was more than just a friend, he was family, he said.
“He was like the sun. No matter what he was always bright,” he said.
The day Laine Meelheim received a call that Inglis was in a serious motor vehicle accident was the worst, she said. Meelheim was Inglis’s best friend and “love of his life,” as described in his obituary. The duo “loved each other with such magnitude,” she said.
Even after the accident, Inglis was “full of life,” she said. “I’m going to miss that smile so much.
“He can walk, run and dance again,” she said. “He is a part of me and always will be.”
Bells chimed as Pepin shook incense on the casket and prayed for God to receive him before a procession with dozens of emergency vehicles with lights flashing would lead the way to Ocean County Memorial Park where Inglis would be buried.
“Danny was an inspiration to all of us over the last year specifically,” said Bob Resetar, Lacey’s emergency management coordinator and chief of Lanoka Harbor EMS. “He showed you could get by adversity.”
“It’s like Sandy,” Resetar said. “There was a storm and there’s going to be sunshine on the other side of the storm. In this case, the sunshine will be him looking over us.”