HAMILTON, OH (FOX19) - Funeral services were conducted Wednesday for a veteran Butler County Sheriff's deputy.
Ben Ballinger II, 41, of Hamilton, lost a battle with cancer last Saturday but not before he received a major promotion.
For most of his 16 years with the sheriff's department, Ben Ballinger worked at a variety of court facilities in Butler County as a court security officer. But the day before he died, Lt. Nick Fisher said Ballinger realized a long held career goal.
"On Friday, just the day before his death, the sheriff promoted him from deputy sheriff to the patrol division," Fisher said.
Sheriff Richard Jones declined to be interviewed for this story but Fisher described Ballinger as a hard working lawman.
"He was especially, especially in love with the K-9 unit and he would volunteer to assist with training with the K-9 unit to go out and take bites in a bite suit, to lay down tracks. He really enjoyed working with the dogs," Fisher said.
Nikki Holland, a cousin of Ballinger's wife, said Ballinger was known as a hard worker and a devoted family man.
"He was a wonderful man, a wonderful father, a wonderful husband (and he) would
go above and beyond for his family," Holland said. "He worked extra jobs to be able to afford his kids to go to Catholic school."
After Ballinger's funeral procession left Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Fairfield, it passed by the old Butler County courthouse where workers stood outside to say a final goodbye.
Ballinger was laid to rest at Rose Hill Burial Park in Hamilton. His body was brought to the grave site by horse drawn carriage.
The service was attended by hundreds of fellow law enforcement officers, family and friends who remember Ballinger as someone who would gladly go that extra mile.
One of the places Ballinger will be remembered is on a wall at the Butler County Sheriff's office which is marked with a sign the reads: "Lest We Forget." His picture will be added to those deputies who died while on active duty.
Survivors include his wife Maribeth Ballinger; children Hannah Rose Ballinger Emma Grace Ballinger and Owen Luke Ballinger.
A memorial fund has been set up for Ballinger's three children at Fifth Third bank in care of Ben Ballinger II.