Family, friends remember Bertie corrections officer in funeral service

May 4, 2017. Photo courtesy: Aaron Kurtz / WAVY

EDENTON, N.C. (WAVY) — Family and friends gathered Thursday to remember a prison sergeant who was killed at the Bertie County Correctional Institution.

Hundreds of people packed Edenton United Methodist Church for Sgt. Meggan Callahan’s funeral. Others watched the procession from across the street — many of whom had never met her.

Tabitha Martin, of Edenton, stood by as a caisson wagon with horses pulled a flag-draped casket down the street.

“It’s just a sad day, so I just wanted to see a great sendoff. She was an amazing person. I mean, really an amazing person,” Martin said.

Gallery: Funeral for Sgt. Meggan Lee Callahan

Virginia O’Connor remembered Sgt. Callahan from her days as a substitute teacher at the middle school.

Meggan Lee Callahan. Image courtesy of Jessie Haywood.

“I feel for the family so much. This is a storm that they’re going through…We will never forget Meggan. Meggan was a pillar of the community. We just love her,” O’Connor said.

Mitchell Lawson works at different correctional facility and drove three hours to the funeral. He never met Sgt. Callahan, but had to be there.

“There’s always that chance…that something like this can happen, and we know this coming into it, but when you get to a situation where you actually lose someone, it’s like family.”

According to Edenton Police Chief Jay Fortenbery, corrections employees from as far away as California and New York attended the funeral.

Investigators say an inmate beat Sgt. Meggan Callahan with a fire extinguisher last week. The man charged in Callahan’s death was already serving a life sentence for a different murder.

A lifelong friend of Callahan’s, Michelle Rowell, described her as a humorous person who was like family to her friends.

“I was hoping [the news] was wrong because she meant a lot to a lot of people,” Rowell told 10 On Your Side last week.

Callahan had been with the North Carolina Department of Public Safety since 2012. She was promoted to sergeant in February 2016.

An account has been established under the Police Benevolent Foundation entitled the “Meggan Callahan Memorial Fund” to provide support to her family. Donations can be made through the account link on the Police Benevolent Foundation’s website at www.pbfi.org.