A Florida Highway Patrol Trooper has died after battling COVID-19. Now, he’s being remembered by his colleagues as someone who performed his duties with humility and class.
For Trooper Brian Pingry, he may have discovered his calling later in life, but for him, it was more than a career.
Lieutenant Greg Bueno had nothing but good things to say about Pingry.
“He spent over two decades in a retail Department store where he was a manager and from that point, his spouse came home one day and he was doing push-ups and flutter kicks in the living room and of course she asked him why are you doing push-ups and flutter kicks in our living room. He said he was preparing to go to the Florida Highway Patrol Academy,” said Bueno.
At 53-year-old, Pingry went through quasi-military training for six months. He did this alongside troopers who were half his age.
“For a person in their 50s to say ‘I’m going to go to the FHP academy and become a state trooper’…wow. That’s extremely commendable because I don’t think too many people would do that and, not only did he do that, he did it well,” Bueno said.
“Brian’s main intention with this job was to make a difference,” said Bueno.
For seven years, he served with humility and lead his colleagues to do the same once he became a field training officer. Later, he watched his daughter follow in his footsteps. She graduated just one year ago from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Academy.
“He had requested to wear his uniform because he was so proud to be a Trooper and he was so proud that his daughter was following in his footsteps,” said Trooper.
In late August, other troopers stopped seeing Pingry’s face and hearing his footsteps around the office. He was battling COVID-19 and, as many others did, he lost the fight.
“Every life is precious and when it hits home and you see one of your own struggling, it’s heartbreaking. To come to work every day knowing he was struggling, you almost feel helpless because we would do anything to help him,” Bueno said.
On Saturday, he lost his battle with COVID-19. Bueno says he will be missed. “We will truly miss him,” said Bueno. “The only thing we can do at this point is [to] be there for his family, honor his legacy, honor his memory, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.”
Trooper Brian Pingry leaves behind his wife and his two adult children. Thursday would have been the couple’s 26th wedding anniversary.
Florida Highway Patrol did not say whether or not Pingry was vaccinated.
FHP Lt. Greg Bueno said Pingry lived and worked in Lee County.