The Gorham community said goodbye to a beloved school resource officer Thursday morning.
Officer Wayne Drown, a graduate of Gorham High School, died Sunday from a heart attack. He was 64.
Hundreds turned out to pay their respects to Drown, who was also known by his nickname “Pooch,” as he was affectionately known around town.
Gorham’s superintendent canceled school Thursday to allow school staff, teachers and students to attend the service.
Throughout his life, Drown coached several sports teams, was a referee and a regular figure at Gorham sporting events.
He also helped establish Special Olympics in Maine and the DARE program in Gorham schools.
The superintendent said Drown cared deeply about the community and the school children.
Gorham High School Principal Brian Jandreau said the fact that so many students went to Thursday’s service is a testament to the impact he had on their lives.
“He described himself as a teacher first. He would often say, ‘I’m a teacher, I’m a counselor and then I’m a cop.’ And so, he really liked just working with kids and talking to them. And then when they were having a hard day, he really enjoyed that counseling piece,” Jandreau said.
“By being in the schools, he was able to impact literally thousands of lives in a positive way. Pooch was a mentor. He was an educator. He was a father. He was a brother. His legacy is going to be felt in this town for a long time,” Gorham Police Chief Dan Jones said.
“It’s a tough loss. Not only was he a coworker, he was a mentor, a father figure for many, and just a dear, dear friend,” Gorham Deputy Chief Chris Sanborn said.
Drown is survived by his wife and two daughters.
In lieu of flowers, the family asked that donations be sent to Special Olympics of Maine.