Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper Bill McClendon touched many lives and is going to be missed, after being killed in a traffic accident Sunday afternoon, while on duty.
News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright says there are a lot of great stories about Bill. How he took a young juvenile delinquent under his wing and turned him into a respected police chief, how his influence convinced a drunk driving suspect to turn his life over to God.
It's clear, Bill McClendon used his life to help others. Everyone who knew Bill McClendon knew two things about him instantly, he loved his family and he took great pride in the title of state trooper.
He also had a passion for helping people and as such, made a great salesman for Moody's Jewelry, most recently at the Broken Arrow store. It's hard for them to believe he's gone. Thomas Stoltzner with Moody's: "It's one of those things he talked about many times, working for OHP, you never know, you live life to the fullest. He had a passion for life. He loved his wife and kids, it was an extreme shock."
OHP trooper McClendon started his law enforcement career in the small town of Mounds, where he was an officer and eventually police chief. He used to catch a teenager named Chad Long getting into trouble from time to time and rather than write him off, always told that kid he'd be a great police officer one day. Now that kid is himself, the police chief at Mounds. He saw Bill just last Thursday.
Mounds Police Chief Chad Long: "Bill was the type of guy that out of uniform or in uniform, he always had a smile on his face. He never seemed to be down. He was a happy go lucky guy who loved his job."
Bill's partner for a time was OHP Lt. George Brown. He says Bill's work ethic pushed others and he won numerous awards for his work with drunk drivers. One offender heard Bill speak once and was inspired to turn his life to God. â€œTrooper Bill McClendon was a great man. He served well the state of Oklahoma and the OHP and my hats off to him."
It's typical that people say nice things about someone, who has died, but so many people said so many great things about Trooper McClendon that you can't help but get the sense; he was truly one of the good guys in life.
His funeral will be on Thursday at Marietta High School at 10 AM. There will also be a graveside service at the Green Hill Cemetery in Sapulpa at 4 PM.