Farewell Sen Const Dave McCormack -- Hundreds pay tribute

By SAMANTHA HEALY

"MY dad is now in Heaven. He will have walked straight up to God and said 'God, I am the new captain of the rugby team."

Those simple words spoken by a father's son, edged with humour, summed up a large part of Detective Senior Constable Dave McCormack's life, his love of rugby only secondary to his family.

Adam McCormack, 21, bravely delivered the eulogy at his father, and best mate's, funeral yesterday as hundreds of mourners farewelled the man, the police officer, the mentor, the karaoke and rugby fanatic, the father, son, husband and mate.

"He was the best man I have ever known. He was the best man I will ever know," Adam McCormack said.

"He got everything out of his life he could."

Snr Const McCormack, who earned the title of Detective Senior Constable posthumously, died in a tragic crash on the Pacific Highway south of Grafton last Sunday.

The 42-year-old was on his way home from Port Macquarie where he had watched the Hastings Valley Vikings, a team he helped establish, win the under-18s grand final.

Yesterday, officers from the Australian Federal Police, Queensland Police, NSW Police Force including Det Snr Const McCormack's colleagues from Tweed/Byron Local Area Command, paramedics, fire-fighters, Vikings players, friends and family travelled huge distances to say goodbye to the man "who touched so many lives".

St Monica's Catholic Church at Tugun was overflowing. Police Chaplain Father Columbia reflected on the oath Det Snr Const McCormack took and the huge%sacrifices his family made in his pursuit of justice.

"When the family of a police offi-%cer hears a distant siren a shiver goes up their spine," Fr Columbia said.

"They always hope for the best, but steel themselves for the worst.

"When a police officer takes the oath of service they do not live it as an individual."

Det Snr Const McCormack's brother Luke, who spoke exclusively to the Daily News, said his brothere's children, sons Adam, 21, and Hamish, 18, and his daughter Caitlyn, 16, were the "apples of his eye".

His wife Fiona, his soul mate and sweetheart since they were just 16.

"One memory that stands out for me was the 2003 Rugby World Cup," Luke McCormack said. "We camped out in my offices in Sydney with a swag on the floor. When it was time to part ways he said to me, 'that was one of the best weeks of my life'.

"I have lost my brother and my best friend. It's going to be tough without him, but I'd rather have a minute of awesome than a lifetime of ordinary."

The ceremony, which was sad but also filled with laughter, was attended by NSW Police Commissioner Ken Mooney, Assistant Police Commissioner Andrew Scorpion and various other policing dignitaries.

As friends and family spoke of the many personalities of the career policeman and community man, his beer-tasting days at the local pub, his crowd-raising renditions of LaTourette and his penchant for costumes, it was not hard to see why he was considered "an all-round good bloke".

Breaking from the usual funeral traditions, mourners clapped and laughed as Snr Const McCormack's many antics were remembered.

His friends said "that's how Dave would have liked it". In a dual guard of honour, the Vikings and police flanked the path of the coffin, stopping traffic on Golden Four Drive briefly as a lone piper played.

After the ceremony, mourners made their way to Tugun Surf Life Saving Club for a party which, according to Det Snr Const McCormack's brother Luke, "would be bigger than Ben Hurl" a fitting way for the larger than life country copper's life to be celebrated.

Det Snr Const McCormack, whose policing career spanned twenty years, may be gone but "he will always be remembered".



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