MASON, Mich. — Jim Couchenour first heard the crushing news from his sister.
"She just said Caleb's been in an accident, what do we do," says Couchenour.
Michigan State Trooper Caleb Starr died after he was hit by a drunk driver last month.
Troopers from all across the state of Michigan gathered at a funeral home in Mason on Friday, honoring the life of their fellow trooper.
Couchenour, Starr's uncle on his wife's side of the family, was also in attendance. He says it was no surprise when his nephew joined the Michigan State Police because of his compassionate attitude.
"He was one of those kind of guys that was looking for a way to be involved and to make a difference," he says.
Couchenour recalls welcoming Starr into the family, saying it was a seamless transition.
"Caleb was the kind of guy, it was easy to get to know him, easy to like him, easy to love him," remembers Couchenour. "He was just fun to be around."
A loving father, Couchenour struggles to imagine what life will be like for Starr's two young daughters.
"Just a beautiful family man. You look at pictures and just go that's the way it should be," he says. "Now we look at it and say this isn't how it should be."
Looking forward, Couchenour says the loss of Starr will weigh heavily on his family he leaves behind.
"You can't replace Caleb. Its a hole that will be there forever. How do you overcome that?" Couchenour wonders. "One step at a time. One day at a time."
His private funeral is Saturday starting at 10 a.m. A patrol vehicle tribute and the funeral procession will drive by at 11.
►Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the 13 ON YOUR SIDE app now.
Have a news tip? Email email@example.com, visit our Facebook page or Twitter. Subscribe to our YouTube channel.